TTT: Set your kid free in the library


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a freebie. I’m choosing to focus on kids. Because 3 years ago today – I had to make the choice to take my youngest daughter off life support. Because kids are incredibly freaking precious, and you sometimes only get one chance to do the parenting thing right, so you need to do it right.  Because teaching kids to love the library can be an incredibly rewarding thing.  Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish(Disclaimer because I don’t trust someone NOT to take this the wrong way: Obviously I’m not saying you drop your kid off  in the library and leave them. I’m also obviously not saying that you even leave their side whilst you’re at the library with them. What I’m saying is that you respect their curiosity, personality, and individuality.)

Top Ten Reasons to Set Your Kid Free in the Library

(aka: Don’t rule over their book choices with an iron fist.)

  1. Even though they’re your kids, they’re not your clones. Just because you enjoyed Judy Moody books doesn’t mean they will. Just because they enjoy Junie B. Jones books doesn’t mean you will.
    • It’s one thing to suggest topics you think they’ll enjoy. Its another to insist that they do.
  2. They may be capable of reading higher than you think they are. And even if they’re not there yet, they deserve a chance to try.
    • They’ll know if the book is too easy, or too hard for them. Let them find out for themselves. Have them read a few pages as a sample.
  3. There is so much out there for them to experience. Let them pick it out. If they don’t like it, you return it the next time you come. What’s the harm?
    • We have had this happen a couple times, but a lot less than you would expect. I never criticize her for not ending up enjoying something she picked up. I just put it to the side, and we move on to something else. Library books are free. Let. them. choose.
  4. It gives unexpected chances for shared reading time.
    • Right now I’m reading The Archived by Victoria Schwab with the seven year old. Is it over her head? Definitely. Does that matter? No. She loves listening to me read it, and the beautiful prose that lends itself to being softly spoken lulls her to sleep.
  5. You get to see their mind develop.House of Robots
    • Almost every time we go to the library (which is a weekly thing), L goes straight to the computers, and looks something up that she’s interested in. She hardly ever discusses it with me before hand. We’ve gotten books on everything from seeds to frogs to the human body. The only thing I do is help her find out which ones are currently at the library we’re at. It frequently makes me wonder at her.
  6. Libraries are places to let the imagination wander, to indulge in whims, to explore and discover.
    • I’d much rather my kid beg to spend hours in the library than to spend hours at Chuck E. Cheese. Wouldn’t you?
  7. You might just discover kids books that you love and never thought you would.
    • For the record: I highly recommend James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein’s House of Robots series.
  8. Because you wouldn’t like it if someone tried to tell you what you could or could not read, so why do it to them?
    • I made the mistake of telling L she couldn’t read one of my books because it was an ‘adult book’. (It was horror.) As soon as she found a chance, she thieved it and started trying to read it.
  9. It gives you a chance to talk to your kids.
    1. Miss L and I have a system. If she comes across a word whilst we’re reading that she doesn’t know, she simply holds up one finger. I immediately stop what I’m doing, and explain the word to her. Sometimes it’s a two sentence exchange. However, this has lead to some surprisingly deep discussions that I never expected.
  10. Because – why not? What harm could it do? Give them free reign in the kids section. Escort them to the teens section if they’re curious about what the ‘bigger’ kids read.  Trust the little buggers. It’s not like a seven year old is going to go for the erotica section! (Common sense rule does apply. Just sayin’. )

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43 thoughts on “TTT: Set your kid free in the library

  1. Amazing post! I especially love the system you have with L – I don’t think any wrong could come out of doing that. I picked up all the books from the library that interested me, and as a result I learnt a lot more than I would’ve otherwise.

  2. I looove this post. I have semi-controlling parents (aka they mean well but they like to dictate what I do) but thankfully it only extends to life choices, not books. I also work for a library supplier and I completely agree with #6 – it’s amazing what just being surrounded by books and people who are there to learn, read, and otherwise improve their lives can do to someone.

    I don’t have kids yet but I’ll be picking up #9 as a tip! That sounds like a great way to let your kids learn and also to spend time with them.

  3. I wish I had this kind of bonding time with any of my parents… But alas, im the only one in the family who loves to read…????

    Great post.????

    And yes, if I have kids (in the future), I will introduce the great love for reading but I’ll let him/her choose the genre he/she will be into.????

    1. That sucks that you’re the only one in your family. When I was growing up, it wasn’t just my mom that read, it was my dad, too. He didn’t go to the library much, but we knew to bring him back some Zane Grey novels! I’m sure your kids will love the library!

  4. I can second three of these general phenomena from personal experience.

    1) Let them roam in the library. Once I was old enough to read and old enough to walk to the library (in other words, second grade), I went to the library alone and went looking for books that appealed to me and answered my questions. Which meant it was sooner than later when they gave up trying to confine me to “age-appropriate” books.

    2) Read with your kids. Talk to your kids about their reading, about your reading. My siblings and I are all readers on account of this. And, horror of horrors, I got my first sex education lesson from my parents because I asked them about something I read.

    3) Unless you hide it under your bed, your kids know what you read. (And don’t be too sure they haven’t looked under the bed.) They will be curious. And unless you’re in the habit of beating them for small infractions, they’ll get at your books sometime or other. So I learned to love Agatha Christie mysteries, tackled a collection of Daphne du Maurier stories that were over my head at first without traumatizing myself, and found out what kind of books adults like to read but don’t want their children to read, which made me have to think hard about my values and theirs.

    Of course, I ended up an educated bookworm. My parents survived the shame. 😉

          1. I don’t know, I think you have me beat. Hard to figure out how to answer your question without getting quite explicit about sexual practices in a very personal way.

  5. aww I love your topic! We didn’t have a library nearby when I was growing up so I missed out on this, but now we live right round the corner from one.

    Last time I was in the library there were a couple of kids running around getting all excited with armfuls of books and their mother kept apologizing for them, I just smiled and said it’s nice to see kids so excited by books and another lady agreed, It really is nicer in the library when I see people just as excited by books as me 🙂

    Happy Reading!
    Rachel @ Paein-and-Ms4Tune

  6. My boys are nearly grown now, but we always made trips to the library (and signed up for summer reading programs) and I volunteered in the library at their schools. And I loved The Archived series – Schwab always does an excellent job with world-building.

  7. Great post! It’s a beautiful thing you do with your kid <3 I was also left to choose whichever book I wanted to read. If that wouldn't have happened, I don't I would like to read now, because I would have felt too restricted and forced to read book that weren't my cup of tea would make me associate reading as a boring activity.

  8. These are great! I don’t have any kids myself yet, but I always try to encourage my younger brother and sister to pick out whatever they want (I’m usually the one at the library with them) and they have gotten me to try new books by finding books I’ve never noticed before.
    Thanks for stopping by my TTT. 🙂

  9. This is a really good idea. Libraries were one of the most important places to me when I was young, so I despair of all the stories of them closing! I’m sending you a virtual hug on what must be a very difficult day.

  10. I love your list this week! I overhear so many parents telling kids that books they are are “baby books” or “that book is too old for you”, I wish adults would trust kids to find something thee want to try rather than forcing on them what they think is right!

  11. This is a absolutely wonderful topic! I grew up in libraries–my mom’s one, my grandma’s one. I was blessed that my mom understand and let me read above my age level. She was a high school librarian and had no choice but to bring me (and let me roam free) in her library all summer. All this did was turn to me into a unabashed bookworm, not too much of a problem. Like you, she knew if she told me I couldn’t read something I would sneak and read it, so she didn’t.

  12. Such a good topic, because I used to fight to get my mother to let me stay at the library (and Borders, *sad face*) just a little while longer. I hate that you had to have a disclaimer, because people should know better– even though they don’t lol.
    Also: So sorry if this is a rough day for you! <3

  13. I take the kiddo weekly and his only guidance is, “We’re out of room in the book bag so unless you want to carry that one, it will have to wait til next week,” LOL

      1. a bag full. LOL. Granted I grab some (5 ish on average) for home school purposes but he’ll stack up 15-25 depending on which branch we’re at and the last time we were at that branch.

        1. Wow! L normally gets about 3 + 1 audio book. Mostly simply because the more she grabs the easier it is to lose them in her big stack o’ books. I always tell myself I’m going to grab just 1 or 2 but that, uh, never really works out for me.

          1. I have a separate shelf in the living room for library books. Any that get returned late to the library because they were not put back on said shelf, kiddo hasn’t to pay the fines. LOL. It happens about once a year. LOL

  14. I don’t have kids, but this is a great article and reminds me of early library excursions. 🙂

  15. I love your topic this week as well as your disclaimer because I also agree someone will probably take it the wrong way – haha. Some of my greatest childhood memories were of being left alone to explore my local library. I never wanted someone looking over my shoulder. My Mom, although I love her, back then took this for its misinterpretation so let’s just say I spent a lot of time at the library!

    1. Gack. But never alone in the whole thing, and I always tell her exactly where I’m going and we have a,”if lost, meet here” spot. With that being said, if it wasn’t for the fact my library employs a very conscientious security guard… Not a chance in heck. Lol!

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