When I saw the Library on Wheels book at the library, of course I had to check it out. The thought of a vintage bus loaded with library books just about bursts my heart.
This book turned out to be great fun. It tells the story of the first United States bookmobile, which was actually a horse-drawn wagon. The woman who dreamt it up was so determined to make sure that books were available to EVERYONE, not just those who lived in town.
The Wisconsin library system is stellar and I’m thankful to be part of it. But, I’ve had Illinois and Tennessee library cards too. Here is something fabulous about all libraries, they stack and store books, maintain the collection, buy new and weed out old, and keep on going, so you can have access to materials for free. And not just books, but magazine subscriptions, and music, and new movies, and on and on. They don’t even stop there. If you want a book they don’t own, they can search it out and get it from another library via mail. You just ask them if they can track it down, and very often they can. Plus, they have online access to databases so you don’t even have to leave your home. You can download plenty to read on your tablet if you prefer. Wait, there is even more. Libraries have programming for children, comfy places to read, free wi-fi and even computers with online access with printing capabilities. Libraries are a social place for self-directed learning.
Even though they offer so much, library use is declining even as many proclaim their love for them.
So, when I read Library On Wheels, it was so telling to how much librarians wanted everyone to have access to material. I think that spirit is still there today. If you don’t have a library card, I’d highly recommend you get one and then use it. If you don’t understand how to find something, just ask. Librarians want to connect you with what you are looking for. (I know, I worked in one and continue to volunteer at our local library.) They want to buy books that get checked out often because that means they are buying the books that readers want. Most of all, they want to be a sharing, rotating resource of information.
Libraries are a treasure trove of reading and media outside your home. They are free to use, have great resources, and most often have just what you are looking for. As homeschoolers, we are constantly thankful for the rotating interesting resources we get. As an added bonus, libraries store the books at their spot, so you don’t have to tidy and maintain your own collection. Just keep a designated small spot for your loaned books, return, and repeat.