We Carricos are officially Friends of the Memphis Public Library. It’s no secret that I love our library. I put books on hold, have books sent from other branches, and shop in Second Editions (the used bookstore inside the Central branch). Noah played baby bingo this summer and was given a free board book for a prize. I participated in their Explore Memphis program for adults, which I hope they will work the kinks out of and try again. I download my five free songs a week through the library’s subscription to Freegal, and I check out ebooks from the relative comfort of my desk chair.
I also use the archives frequently. So frequently, in fact, that I have gotten to know several of the archivists on a first name basis. I can say with certainty that they are some of the nicest, most qualified people I have met in my researching. Honestly, I cannot sing their praises quite loudly or often enough. The Memphis and Shelby County Room (where the archives are housed) also has fantastic equipment available to researchers. I’m talking about a digital microfilm scanner. DIGITAL. Any historian out there knows the magnitude of this equipment. You can zoom in on specific areas and save the images to a zip drive. That means no more reams of copy paper that must be read through a magnifying glass.
Then there are all the library resources that I don’t use–classes for teenagers, job fairs, technology classes, computer access. These are fantastic resources for the Memphis community, and we are happy support them.
Basically, we love the library. Our kid is going to grow up having access to one of the coolest children’s libraries and learning about the world through afternoons spent grabbing whatever book catches his eye. We are happy to be their Friends.
The picture above is the Benjamin Hooks (Central) Branch Light Veil atrium sculpture by Ed Carpenter. You can see more photographs of the piece and read his artist statement on the Urban Art Commission’s website.
I’m pretty much willing to do anything to build up my kid’s library. Without overstating it, I think reading is magic. It has been a constant in my life, from my leisure activity to a huge component of what I do for a living. I read for fun, I read for work, and I read anything. I have preferences, but I really will read anything as my list of what I read last year and this year so far can attest. Reading is something that I want to pass on to my child, but it isn’t something that I want to force. You can’t force someone to like to read any more than you can force a homebody to enjoy Beale Street. They might make outward signs of compliance, but it won’t stick. We read to our baby everyday in the hopes that he will grow up equating reading with comfort and happiness. Even if he isn’t quite as rapacious as his mother, I hope that he will know the pleasures of a good book.
Part of that challenge is making sure that he has lots to choose from. I know it doesn’t matter too much right this minute, but before I know it, he will have preferences and express them (loudly if heredity has anything to do with it). When that day comes, I want him to have a fully stocked bookshelf that can take him wherever it is he wants to go. He is signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, one of the most generous and effective nonprofit enterprises I have come across. We did the Wheaties family challenge last fall and got him some books for when he is a bit older. In that spirit, we are doing the Memphis Public Library’s Baby Bingo program. The library does great summer reading programs–I’m actually doing the Explore Memphis program for adults–and the bingo card is the part of the program for infants and toddlers. Each time we get a bingo, we’re entered into the end of summer drawing for a gift card. When we fill up the card, he gets a free board book.
A free book for something we are already going to do anyway? Win.
You can sign up at the children’s desk at any Memphis library branch.