Saturday, December 28, 2019

Never Run Out of Things to Read

This afternoon, I started reading The Lake House by Kate Morton. This paragraph made me chuckle and brought back a memory from my own childhood.

'Peter did like reading. He'd read his way through the entire children's section of the Kilburn Library by the time he was eight, a feat that might have been a source of pride and celebration but for the problem posed by him still being years off acquiring the adult borrowing card. Thank God for Miss Talbot, who'd bitten her lip and straightened the library name badge on her lemon cardigan, and told him--a faint quiver of purpose enlivening her usually soft smooth voice--that she would personally ensure that he would never run out of things to read. She was a magician as far as Peter was concerned. Decipherer of secret codes, master of index cards and Dewey decimal, opener of doors to wonderful places.' (p73-74)

I don't recall being limited to the children's section of the public library when I was a kid, but I do remember that when I was in second or third grade, there was a section of the school library for the younger kids and one for the older kids. The younger kids were limited to books from 'our' section, but there wasn't really anything there for me. It wasn't the librarian that came to my rescue, though. In fact, as I recall, she was quite unhappy when I went to the desk with books from the section for older kids and tried to stop me checking them out. When I told her my parents had written a letter to the school, giving permission for me to check out whatever I wanted and she'd verified that, she had to relent. Decades later, when I worked briefly at a public library, I was told at my interview that the library policy was to check out any book to anyone, no matter the book and no matter the age of the borrower. Most librarians I have known are more like Miss Talbot than my old school librarian. Hurray for that!


Vicki said...

My mom took me and my brother to the library a lot and I don't remember ever not being able to check a book out.

Amanda said...

It's interesting to read old books about how children had to stay in their sections. I remember burning through our library's children's section pretty quickly. I pulled out some books from the older kid's section. The librarian made me read from the books; when I showed I could read them, she let me check them out. She did the same thing as I went on through the other sections until I graduated to the adult stacks. My mother's attitude was to let us read whatever we picked up. She figured if we were ready for the material, we'd figure it out; if we weren't, we'd get bored and wander off.

Brenda said...

A lovely teacher in 4th and 6th grades-i had her both years-brought books from her home for me to read when I ran out of those at school...I read so quickly that I go through books too too quickly...she brought me books that were so far above my level, but I managed.
As to age appropriate, I did not want my own kids reading certain material that was too adult-and the grands have had the same guidelines. There are so many inappropriate books that they have no use for..Most libraries have sections for the kids and those for the adults. I like that until they are a certain age.
I remember in junior high reading the Biographies of Lincoln--a while set of them...the librarian was curious that I would read books that were for research...did the same with those old World Books at home...remember those?

Shari Burke said...

I should have mentioned that the novel is set in the UK, so perhaps there are different guidelines there. I never had an issue with reading age-inappropriate things, possibly because I was choosing reading material for myself. I was, however, exposed to a great deal of visual stuff (movies and other things) that caused me harm and I can see the ways that still affects me. I did not have a choice about seeing those kinds of things, because my parents brought me with them to what were to me disturbing drive-in movies and other paces where kids do not belong. I would not want to see such things even as an adult!

I do remember World Books, Brenda!

Brenda said...

We are both avid readers who lve our books!!! My reading so much was an escape as a child! Mother used to tell me to go outside and play in the fresh air. I took a book and a quilt for under a shade tree. She grinned and gave up! Love your blog!!!