When I was a child, I loved going to the children's section of the public library in Shelbyville, Indiana. At that time, the children's department was in the basement of the library and we would head to that basement many Saturday afternoons after lunch. I can vividly remember searching the stacks for Nancy Drew books and Dana Girls mysteries. Since both these series were ostensibly written by Carolyn Keene, I remember looking through a reference book with my mother to find out more about Carolyn Keene. Of course, what we discovered was that there was no Carolyn Keene. Carolyn Keene was simply a pseudonym for the many, many writers who wrote the various books in these series. On a side note, the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones television series offered a humorous take on how Edward Stratemeyer came up with the character of Nancy Drew. If you are a Prime Video subscriber, you can find it in Season 1, Episode 6: Spring Break Adventure.
I've always wanted to live close enough to a library to be able to walk to it. During my single days, I had an apartment directly across the street from one of the Arlington County branches and I used it often. Since being married and having children, we haven't lived quite that close. However, in our new house, one of the Alexandria branches is walkable. It is not an easy walk--especially when loaded down with books. But the kids and I can walk it.
Today, though the sky was threatening rain, we decided to chance the walk to the library. Meg has been struggling to find books that interest her this summer. I recently received many new book recommendations and she wanted to look through some of the books to see if any appealed to her. Before agreeing to the library trip, Clare clarified that she would not need to return the book she is currently reading, Circus Mirandus, because she isn't quite finished. Once I assured her we could renew the book, she was on board with the trip. Anne wasn't entirely sure she wanted to spend the morning at the library, but she was fully supportive of the idea of walking to the library. Sadly, once we were at the library, she was not nearly as enthusiastic about the walk home.
We were loaded down with books to return on our walk to the library. Each girl has a designated backpack for library trips. Meg and Clare each have their own library cards and keep those cards in the front pocket of their individual backpacks. The main section of their backpacks are filled with books.
Anne's library backpack is her Peter Rabbit backpack from school. She loves this backpack, but it is a smaller, kid-size backpack. As a picture book reader, Anne typically has a larger stack of books than either of her sisters to stuff in to her tiny little backpack. I, of course, held Anne's backpack on our walk to the library. It would be asking entirely to much of her to make her lug that backpack in addition to walking all the way to the library with her tiny little legs.
Thankfully the weather was cool today, so our walk was pleasant. Our cheerful little group walked down the street. We waved to our neighbors. We said hello to our neighborhood dogs. We happily announced, "We are on our way to the library." It was the dream of my little library-loving heart.
Our local library branch is small. While that does limit the book selection (it did not have all the books Meg had hoped to inspect), it does make it easier for me to give each girl the freedom to explore while being able to keep an eye on them. I was able to help Meg search for books, while Anne played with giant foam blocks. When I turned my attention to helping Anne find books, Meg and Clare could explore on their own. Clare began collecting books on how to put on a play, so I anticipate a dramatic masterpiece is in our future.
Anne and I played on the computer for awhile. We couldn't quite figure out the Sesame Street learning games because there were no headphones to hear the directions. A sweet boy, who clearly spends hours at this particular library, came over and taught Anne how to play a particularly fun letter game.
Meg found one challenging book that interested her and pick up some old standbys. Clare stuck with her drama books. Anne and I found some books with fun takes on fairy tales. While at the library, we picked up our reading logs for the summer reading program.
While the walk home began as challenging (Anne was dreading it terribly), we pulled ourselves together and had a good time. We watched a fire truck pull out of its station on a call, which the girls found exciting. Clare kept a steady pace and declared that it seemed to take much less time to return home than it took to walk there. The girls had fun seeing the other side of many of our neighbors houses. The girls have deemed one house, which they typically only see the back of, as a haunted house. When they saw the front of the house on our walk, they decided it was much less scary.
We really had a fun time. The library trip did not fill up our entire day. We did several other at home activities that I'll detail in tomorrow's post. That being said, the library was a high point of our day. I even picked up a fun mystery that I can't wait to read myself.