October 19, 2010
Parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters, pretty much everyone should read to the children in their lives. Every day, lots of books. Read to newborns, read to babies in the womb. Read, read, read. The book Reading Magic by Mem Fox is a great primer on why reading to children is important and will change their lives (for the better). To paraphrase Mem Fox on why you should read to newborns, especially boys, “If you do this not liking books won’t be an option. They will have always loved books.”
However, reading to children who are mobile and love to reach out and touch things and put things in their mouth can become a bit tricky. Board books, the little ones with the sturdy cardboard pages are a great option. But it’s hard to stick exclusively to board books when there are so many beautiful picture books begging to be read aloud. Accidents will happen. If something happens to damage a library book while you have it checked out, here’s what you should do:
Tell us what happened. We understand. However, don’t tape the page. Please, please, please don’t try to repair the damage yourself with tape. No matter how neatly you do the repair it will never is the same as a library repair. The library has special archival quality tape and glue that allows us to make invisible and long lasting repairs. If a book gets ripped or torn – tell us and we can fix it, but if you tape it at home we almost always have to replace the book because regular tape yellows and gets brittle. If you notice that someone else ripped a book prior to you taking it home – tell us when you bring it back. We won’t blame you and we can fix the damage before it gets worse. A stitch in time saves nine and all that. If your little one rips a book, tell us, we won’t be mad, we won’t revoke your library privileges, but we do charge a small repair fee.
Minor damage like little teething marks on the corner of the book, a bit of crayon on a page, a bit of chocolate pudding smeared on a page – not such a big deal. Tell us so we can clean the book and make repairs. Yes, there is a nominal fee for damage, but a clean conscious is worth it.
But the best thing you can do is prevention. Read so many books to your children from such a young age that they grow up knowing how to handle a book. If they see you treating a book with care, they will follow your example.
Youth Services Librarian