Saturday, October 04, 2008

Most Valuable Home Education Resource, A Good Librarian

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now. I don’t know why it hasn’t felt more urgent. But, then again, we are in the midst of the most important presidential race ever. That and being at home six days a week with a home educated five year old has a way of zapping one’s time and energy. But, with that said. I simply have to take a few minutes out to give some praise.

Everyone agrees, a library is one of the most awesome resources in the world. With the advent of the internet and public access in local libraries, I often find myself challenged. I can’t get to a card catalogue for all the focused, dedicated web surfers. I never seem to bring the list of books I’ve compiled. So, my experience lately has been to walk in - chatty child in tow - and feel a searing wave of frustration settle over me.

Without a good librarian, the library becomes a saucy, nasty temptress of unrequited knowledge. For this reason, I must unequivocally state that the most valuable resource a home educating parent can develop is a good librarian.

Some folks might say that any intelligent person can find all of the great books a library has to offer. Not true. Librarians love books unlike any other type of person on this planet. They know the new books, the best books, the coolest books.

There is one striking difference between a good librarian and a librarian. The good librarian is like a village wise woman - one part mystery, one part common sense, one part psychologist and two halves each of magician and show person. (Something like a kinder, gentler Granny Weatherwax.) The good librarian knows the secrets of the books you would never think to look for on behalf of your child.

Until we met Miss Leann over at the Homewood Library, Winston had a tepid relationship to books. They were good and all of that. They were essential at bed time. But, quite frankly, there was always something more interesting to do - like splash in puddles; look at bugs; or build a fire. Lately, he’s been developing a passion for books.

Now, I must admit, I would rather spend my afternoon reading something like “Zen Shorts” And at bedtime, I think “Cendrillion” or “The Girl Who Spun Gold” are just perfect. But, thanks to Miss Leann, we reading things Winston loves. And I am so impressed that she has found books that I am enjoying.

I would never have found either of these books without her. And my jaw is bouncing against the floor that they made it to print. And finally, I’m thinking, I wish I’d written these books. And that’s the best ever feeling because I’m stimulated by these books. So thanks, Miss Leann. She is a good librarian. And like any village wise woman, she serves the whole community.

Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau is a cautionary tale about being a bully. At the end, Uglyfish learns - quite permanently - that being a bully never pays.

Tadpole’s Promise
, by Jeanna Wilis is a must read for teenagers and folks unsure about what it takes to have a healthy relationship. (It’s a good kids picture book also.) Basically, caterpillar falls in love with tadpole but insists that he “never changes.” Well, caterpillar experiences some pretty serious consequences for her demands. I just have to say, I am so happy Winston is growing up with these ideas at this age.


Anonymous said...

ya, library!

Anonymous said...

I've known LeeAnn for quite a few years and it's wonderful that her talents are being recognized and enjoyed by others! I also agree with the poster above "ya, library!"
-Nicole (Levi's mom)

Anonymous said...

Hey Christina! My Mom (the children's librarian at Squirrel Hill) forwarded a link to your praises, sent out by a department head! You're officially in superstar CLP territory!
-Laura H.

Christina Springer said...

Nicole - Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Laura! So good to see you here.

The real superstar is Miss Leann. (And, of course, your mother because she is a good librarian, also!)

We, writers, just observe, witness and document. In these interesting times, it feels good to document goodness.

And Anonymous, absolutely, YEAH Libraries!!!!