Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things I've learned about children since I've started working at the library:

1. Children don't need expensive toys, fancy clothes, or fantastic vacations to make them proud or happy. Sometimes they just want to pick out their own book. And then hand it to you over the counter and TELL you that they've picked it out. All by themselves.

2. Children want to do what their parents do. They want to put the book on the self-check machine just like Mom. They will take the CD case and put it in the de-magnetizer (to take the outer security case off) even though Dad has already taken the security case off. They want to check out their books on their OWN library card.

3. Kids pay attention to what their friends are reading. Or their older siblings. Just like adults, they will read a book if someone recommends it to them.

4. Kids like to research things about their world as it relates to them. And they also like sharing how much they know.

5. If you compliment a child on their choice in movies, books, or even on their dinosaur pajamas, they will most likely start talking to you and tell you WHY they chose their particular movie, book or dinosaur pajamas.

6. Kids like a good story. And they like to be read to. Sometimes they will beg mom or grandpa or whoever they are with to sit down on the bench and just start reading.

7. You can get fancy and try to impress 8 and 9 year old boys with what goes on "behind the scenes" at the library, but at the end of the day, they are more impressed with watching the books come down the book drop than listening to how a returned item is processed to go back out on the shelves.

This list is by no means comprehensive. And what it says about our culture, society, or the state of our youth today--well, it probably doesn't say much. And maybe these things are all obvious to all the seasoned parents out there. I'm not quite there yet, but hopefully I will be someday. And what I've learned about adults is mostly less happy, less colorful, and more impatient (and yes, adults WILL moan and groan and argue about paying a $0.15 overdue fine), and that's an entirely different post altogether. All I know is that watching the children at the library is probably one of the best parts of working there.


laurel said...

I agree you with what children are like and what adults are like too. Maybe that is why the Lord says be as little children. Its sad that as adults we have lost most of that darling charm, simplicity, and the simple way we look at the world.

Glenda said...

Great observations, Claudia.
But most of all, "Hurrah" to parents who take their kids to libraries. My older children spent much time in the libraries in the cities and towns where we lived. Unfortunately for Andrew, I don't think he had the same experience, although he was a voracious reader in his youth. I love libraries and did as a child. For my grandbabies, my wish is that much of their childhood play time will be spent in libraries and reading. I loved what Angie Nelson Groberg's (for Julia's benefit) deceased mother-in-law said, "If you don't want stupid kids, READ TO THEM."

Erin said...

So cute Claudia - sometimes 14 year olds are still like this...not very often, but sometimes. And they always seem to be the ones with their noses in a book! Keep observing and tell me more. I am curious to know!

hooli said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you... and to all library workers around the world. My children love the library, love books, and most of all love their librarians. I'm not kidding you. Librarians are a rare teacher. They focus on what a child (or adult) can learn to do for themselves with the help of a book.

PS -- I always pay my fines with a smile on my face because I can't believe they let me check the dang book out for FREE in the first place. Come on, long live libraries.

hooli said...

ps -- another thing to validate your awesome work... a book is the first thing my children look for in the morning and the last thing they look at before bed. in essence, they begin and end their day with something you provided.

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