Little Adventures – Library Days

by Cassidy Nunn | photo by Nunn Other Photography – 

“Is it Library Day today, Mama?” my four-year-old daughter asks excitedly, jumping up and down. “Do I get the stickers again? How many new books can I pick? Can we get a colouring page to take home? Can we take this book out again?” The public library, as well as my school libraries, were such a strong presence in my childhood, adolescence and university years. My parents began the tradition of weekly library visits with me and my brother when we were very young. We always participated in the summer reading programs – even if we were away travelling in the summer – and spent time in other reading and activity programs through the library over the years.

When Covid struck, the libraries were shuttered and I was in the throes of beginning my latest chapter of life as a new mama. It was a busy, overwhelming, exhausting time. We were gifted many books for my daughter so while there was no shortage of reading happening in our life at home, the library was not even on my radar anymore. It took a trip to Thetis Island where we visited their tiny community library with my cousin and her kids to remind me of our own library. How nice it would be to read some new (to us) books, since we’d read and re-read and re-read and re-read all the books at our house countless times! It was to the point where my daughter – when she was only two-and-half years old – had several of her favourite books memorized and could “read” them to us on her own.

Library Day has become a weekly routine for our household over the past year. Each week we load up our cloth bag with the past week’s selections (which usually requires a frantic search through every single room in our house since there’s a strong chance the books were taken on an adventure of their own during their brief stay with us) and off we go, ready to pick some new titles to bring home.

Sharing the magic of the library with my girls this past year has been special; my youngest was just a newborn, a couple of weeks old, when we started this tradition last year. The librarians at the Central Saanich branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library gifted her a book on her first visit through the Books for Babies program. For those first few months she’d often be fast asleep in her bucket car seat while my older daughter and I scanned the bookshelves in search of the special books that would make the week’s pick to come home with us. In those early newborn days, the Summer Reading Program gave me a reason to get myself and the kids organized enough to leave the house; there was no way my eldest was missing a week of the program since it came along with a sticker and a prize each week. She diligently kept track of her reading, making sure I wrote her favourite books down in the sticker book, and completed the program at the end of the summer, earning herself a medal, a final prize and a completed sticker book.

Now, at just over a year old, my youngest has graduated from being toted into the library in her car seat to toddling into the building, tightly clutching my hand, and making her own weekly selections (with a little unsolicited help from her big sister). With the Summer Reading Program just begun, I suspect our weekly library adventures will be taking on a whole new level of excitement.

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