When I ask my almost-three-year-old where she wants to go, often her answer is: “to the wibahwwee” (library). Both of my kids feel very comfortable in our Athens Library. I can see that library experience for them goes far beyond flipping through picture books. They learn the responsibility of borrowing and returning the books. I observe how my kids develop respect for books and knowledge. They learn to exercise their free will, when making their book choices. As a parent, I find library experience irreplaceable.
As a child,I was a frequent library visitor myself. I spent my summers at my Grandma’s, in a remote Russian village. There was a library close by, but it had very strict rules. I could check out one book at a time. One day, I checked out a book in the morning, read quickly, and brought it back the same day, hoping to borrow another book. The librarian sent me back home with the old book, saying I could only visit the library once a day. The sad part, I was her only visitor that day. When I was getting a library card at the Athens Public Library, I asked about the maximum amount of books I can check out. It turns out, there is a 99 book limit. Additionally, unlike the librarians from my childhood, the staff members at our Athens Library are extremely patient with the kids, and connect with them naturally. We feel welcome from the moment we enter the library. It’s such a positive place to visit. It makes you feel good, whoever you are.