When my oldest was a toddler, we never went to the library. Frankly, I didn’t really see the point: we own tons of board books and picture books that she was very happy to read over and over. When she turned 2, though, I started getting it. As much as I wanted to buy every single book we wanted to read, we just couldn’t afford it. So we started exploring the library’s offerings and reading through all sorts of booklists that I’ve stumbled upon over the years.
Now that she is nearly 5, the tide has definitively turned and now we read more books from the library than ones we own. Even though I love (LOVE!) owning books and will always be an advocate of doing so, I am oh so grateful for the library. It expands our reading lives in such a rich way… and also provides a fun outing on ridiculously cold winter days.
However. One of the big problems with library books is that after a few weeks, you have to take the books back. If you’re a believer in the goodness and power of re-reading (as I am), this presents a problem because if you’re going to re-read a book you or your child has to remember to check it out again at some point in the future. But when there are so many books yet to be discovered, sometimes it’s hard to reach for the known, beloved books instead of the shiny new one on the shelf, you know?
About a year ago I set out to at least partially solve this problem. I wanted a way to remind us of our favorite books, a way to inspire us to check them out repeatedly, and a way to allow my kids to be part of that process. Because my daughter wasn’t reading yet, I knew I had to do something other than simply print out a list of titles. So instead, I spent a couple of naptimes finding book cover images to copy and paste into a word document. Printed on cardstock at the closest copy shop and placed in plastic page protectors and voila:
Our very own personalized, visual library catalog that makes us feel like library books are truly ours! My daughter can browse through it anytime; it’s my job to place online holds on the books she requests so they’re ready for us to pick up in a few days. (She places post-it notes on top of the ones she wants.) We add new books to our list of favorites all the time, so every few months I create a new page to add to our binder. This system has worked marvelously for us and now in every backpack-full of library books we nearly always have a handful of old favorites. The more we re-read our favorites the more treasured they become and the more we want to keep checking them out, so I’m calling this project a definite success.