I presume that you are aware that most libraries have summer reading programs for kids, right? I love that they go to the trouble of thinking up ways to keep kids brains sharp during their down time from school. I've long admired the dedication libraries have to keeping a laser sharp focus on engaging youngsters and enticing them into the glorious world of the written word year 'round but especially during the summer months.
Our library has gone one better. They also have a summer reading program for adults! What? I just think that is so awesome. Libraries really do rock!
Well I've always known that. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I adore libraries. It's one of the first things I look for every single time I've ever moved. From childhood forward. "Yes, yes, nice place. Where's the library?" Kind of like that. And in fact, before we chose to live on Venice Island in this latest move, any house we considered, any town we considered, Tim would show me on a map on line, "Ok here is the house, here is the grocery store, here is the library..." He gets me.
Because I can be fairly oblivious, I had no idea that our library had this program. Usually I'm fairly focused on my goal. I am either at the library to work with one of my ESL students, or I'm returning books I've already read and therefore also finding new books to read. So my brain is completely immersed in the lesson plan I've put together for the student I am working with that day or I'm dropping off books I've read and heading directly for the racks to find new books. That's my entire focus.
It's not like I'm crashing into other library patrons or book racks. At least not on purpose. I'm not quite that unaware of my surroundings. But I tend to not read the posters and signs that are sprinkled around. I am there for a specific reason. I'm not sight seeing.
So I was surprised one day in late May, when one of the librarians walked up to me seconds after I stepped through the door. She explained that there was a summer reading program for adults and asked if I wanted to participate. She pointed to a sign up sheet. I rarely "join" things and even more rarely put my signature to anything without giving it a great deal of thought but in this case they were only asking me to do one more thing than I was already doing. The only extra step I needed to take was to write a brief review of any book I read and turn it in. Easy Peasy. Bonus points? They do drawings from the reviews that they receive and the winners get....something. I missed that part.
I got so focused on the fact that someone was asking me to do two things I adore: 1) read and 2) write, that my brain kind of shut off after that. What is it that I could possibly I win? Don't care. So I smiled and said, "yes, thank you", applied my scribbledy signature to their sign up sheets and the nice lady handed me the black bag in the photo at the top of this page. Woohoo! I also get a carry bag? How cool is that? I will definitely put the carry bag to use. Probably at the grocery store.
I made my book selections and walked back home. Once back in my house I realized that there was stuff In the bag! What sorts of goodies did I get? Well, there was information about the library of course. I expected that. And there was a book mark. Awesome. I added it to the collection. Yes, I have a collection of book marks and I keep them in a cigar box. Yeah, I know, crazy. The cigar box was my dads. It's a real cigar box. What a crazy thing to keep, I hear you thinking. Well, I often have more than one book going at a time and I treat books with respect. Which means I need book marks, or something to use as a book mark and therefore I need a place to keep them. The cigar box works perfectly AND makes me think of my dad every time I use it. It sits on the side table next to my favourite reading spot. There are a pair of reading glasses there, a chapstick, a fuzzy blanket, a pile of unread books, a lamp and a few other favourite things.
In the bag, there was also a lanyard that says, "find yourself at the library" on it. I have no idea what on earth I'm supposed to do with the lanyard. I suppose I could put a little card with my name and address on it in case I forget who I am some day? Do people use these things?
Then of course there were the pile of blank book review sheets in the bag as well. That's exciting! I have already filled out quite a lot of the ones I was given and submitted them but I have a few left. The nice library lady assures me that if I run out, they are happy to give me more of them. There's a relief. I think I only have four left and I just read two more book that I need to write up (unfortunately neither of them was great so they won't require much writing). Writing a book review is like asking me my opinion and lord knows I have opinions on nearly everything. Generally I am pretty good about keeping my opinions to myself unless I am asked. But the nice library lady asked. So Yay!
While I will read virtually anything, lately I find myself gravitating toward biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. And I prefer to read about unknown people rather than famous people which is what led me to these particular selections. The middle one was flat out terrible. The top one was okay. I haven't yet read the bottom one but I guarantee it will be ready to return with the others on Friday. And of course, I have no clue what books I will come home with on Friday! That's part of the fun :) Finding an amazing book that I never knew existed. (and of course finding a terrible book points me away from that particular author as well - still new information and that's always a good thing)
I have no idea if your library has a similar program for adults but then, I didn't know that my library did either! Woo and Hoo!
Or perhaps you haven't been to your local library for quite some time. Maybe you believe that you are not a reader, that you don't enjoy reading. It's okay. That just means you haven't found the right book, the right topic, the right author. It's time to go back and see what there is to see. Check it out! You might be pleasantly surprised. My library has written books, audio books, magazines and even movies! Something for everyone.
Books are not 'one size fits all'. There are a lot of books that I haven't especially enjoyed. But there are far more that I absolutely loved. Takes a little time but I promise you there is a book for everyone. My Nana used to say that there was a lid for every pot and a saucer for every teacup. Kind of the same thing with books.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.