To Raise a Passionate Reader, Befriend a Librarian

On National Librarian Day, we remember that one of the rituals we have missed the most during the pandemic is being able to drop by the local library to see what’s new and interesting on the shelves. Which is why we’re so happy to report that these beloved community centers are open again, with librarians at the desk to connect readers with compelling books. For all of us looking to raise avid and eager bookworms, the public library is an indispensable resource, a place where a passion for reading can be nurtured. Luckily, we have many incredible libraries in our area. In Stamford, the Ferguson Library was recently named a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service.

Below are our suggestions for making the most out of the riches at your local library.

  • What makes a library magical? To start with, a library represents abundance. Inside is a deep collection of books, with unlimited stories, beautiful illustrations and all the arcane information a child obsessed with trucks or dinosaurs or ballerinas could ask for. Best of all, once inside, you can take home as many books as you can carry, turn them all in as soon as they’re read, and lug home a whole new pile. Good readers need access to lots of books to spark their imagination and feed their enthusiasms.
  • Libraries also encourage treasure-hunting, browsing through the shelves for a serendipitous discovery. There’s no predicting what book will catch a child’s fancy—and whatever it is, she can “test-drive” it with no risk. When you visit, let your children choose any books they find appealing, which helps them develop into strong, autonomous readers. Moreover, good readers need to know that if a book they found isn’t interesting, they can put it down and move on to another one that is.
  • Children love to talk about the books they’re reading. When they have opportunities to share what they are thinking about the books they read, they thrive and grow as readers. The more you engage with them what they’re reading, the more they will want to read. Keep library books in a special basket at home for whenever the urge to read strikes, and set aside time each day to sit down with them and explore their books together. Ask them why they chose these particular ones, and be animated and excited if you’re reading aloud. Reading aloud connects us—reader and listener—in a very intimate way and sends kids the message: You are important. This time is for you.
  • Librarians also love to talk about books! Befriend one, so she or he gets to know your child’s interests. They are happy to suggest books that will captivate your kid, and can recommend titles you may not know of, broadening your child’s taste and expanding his mind and vocabulary.
  • Lastly, help your child get a library card with her own name on it! This early rite of passage gives children a sense of autonomy and responsibility. As card-carrying library patrons, they learn to treat things that belong to others with care. When they check out books in their own name, they feel trustworthy and responsible, and more like a member of their community.

Enjoy creating happy memories at the library and giving your child the “open sesame” magic of a library card!

Maureen