In between a display of red buds and azaleas, a colorful sign like this one caught my attention last week. The sign had reading recommendations and paid homage to late author Beverly Cleary. Oh how I loved you, Beezus. I had to have one myself. And I was all in if it helped support my local library too.
After all, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system supports my family–and so many others–every day through loans and other resources, services, and events, many of which you might be surprised to learn are available. Did you know about the tutoring, genealogy support, movies, audiobooks, career and college guidance, digital branch, 3D printers, and teen volunteer program (VolunTeen) Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries provide?
Let’s do some math for the Blair household alone: Right now, I have 17 books checked out for nutrition and writing research (that cost around $25 each.) I recently returned an autobiography I’d been wanting to read that would have cost me $20 new at Barnes & Noble. It was good but not a keeper, so that would have been a waste and eventual landfill addition. My son and I are both devouring a pleasure read from the library on our Kindles at around $15 a pop. And I have on hold to pick up next week a rare book published in England a friend recommended (running for $30 on Amazon.) I was sure my local library would not have it. Indeed, they do, and they have three other copies you can check out too. By my calculations, that’s a savings of around $500!
The $15 “Bookmark the Town” sign expense ($10 of which is tax-deductible) to bolster one of Charlotte’s most valuable resources is nominal. As I tell my children, the most valuable card I have in my wallet is my library card. That’s why we picked up our own sign while retrieving some books the other day. We had a little difficulty deciding what to write since there are so many good titles and authors, but eventually we got it done and in the dirt. Triumph!
This experience will hopefully boost one of my important parenting goals: raise readers. When we, as adults, demonstrate enjoyment and appreciation from the pages before us, whether electronic or in print, our kids notice. It isn’t happening overnight, and engagement ebbs and flows in our family; however, cultivating a love of reading is not only important for a life rich in knowledge, perspective, compassion, and joy; it is one of the most vital ways we can remedy gaps in pandemic academic setbacks.
What are you waiting for? Get yours today. Become a neighborhood muse now through June. Grab a Sharpie, a sign (and a good book.) Help CLT’s literacy and love of reading bloom with us. I wonder what your sign will say…