Books and Rubber Snakes

Published Date: August 18th, 2010
Category: Weekly Thought

For those of you who are tired with all that is wrong with Chicago: 10.25% sales tax, those stupid parking ticket machines, Rod Blagojevich, let me throw out one life saver—The Chicago Public Library. In my 15 odd- years of living here, CPL has never let me down. I remember how I proudly entered the Lincoln Park branch at age 22 with my first electric bill so I could obtain my library card. And now 15 years later, my son did the same thing.

Except instead of being an original Lincoln Park Trixie dying to shed her suburban roots, my son is actually GROWING UP in the city and so will hopefully never have to get another CPL card.

So a doubly proud moment for me!

I think for us readers (i.e., those of us who juggle 2-3 books at a time and have piles upon piles of books beside our bedsides and strange little scraps of paper in our purses and wallets with hastily scribbled half-titles), the moment we are able to transfer our love of reading onto another human being is quite a moment.

Or in my case, FORCING it upon my little human being. But whatever—he’ll love to read eventually. Especially when my reply to his “reading is boring” was that “stupid people think reading is boring.” I’m sure that will TOTALLY make him want to read. Regardless, the day G got his library card, I had tears streaming down my face. I was prouder that he had a library card then the day he accidentally made a goal at soccer. Most people have pictures of their children in Little League uniforms. I have a picture of my child holding up his first library card.

And let me tell you, these special library moments keep on coming! He signed up for the Summer Reading Program*. I know you all remember those programs with fondness. Rainy days spent at the library curled up in a corner with your favorite Frog and Toad book. The pride felt when awarded with a scratch n’ sniff sticker to put on your book chart. Well, CPL’s program is EVEN BETTER.

G had to read five books a week and then come back into the library and “report” on them to a charming 15-year-old volunteer who would ask sweet little questions like, “Did you have a favorite page? Do you know this word? Was this part scary?” So not only did G learn how to read better, he also learned how to respond to questions about these books.

Plus, he got stickers, a rubber snake, 3 free books he won in the weekly lotteries, and a t-shirt.

I tell you—it just doesn’t get any better than that for a 5-year-old.

So the next time I am annoyed that I end up paying $20 alone for tax on a nice dinner out or that driving my car down the street is like some sort of urban video game with all of those damn potholes, I’ll think back with fondness to our summer spent at The Chicago Public Library. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll at least jam that rubber snake into one of those stupid parking ticket machines when once again, it eats my change…

*Well, truth be told, I actually signed him up and told him if he finished it, I would buy him ice cream…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 at 7:05 pm and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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