Baby’s First Library Visit!

I have this thing for libraries. I think they’re awesome. I think they’re genius. I think they provide so much to our communities and I think they’re sadly underappreciated. I think they’re magic.You know that moment in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” when he gives her the library? Yeah, I cried.

I still have my very first library card.

When I was a little girl, my parents had these bookends of two lions. They have names, Patience and Fortitude, they’re statues in front of the New York Public Library which is huge, and you’ll love it they told me. WHEN CAN WE GO??? Well it took me awhile, but I got there.

Here’s my NYPL card. Vintage 1994, the year I moved to New York.

Sadly for me, the past couple of years haven’t been so great reading wise. The sleep deprivation brought on by pregnancy and then a newborn and then a toddler WHO STILL WOULD NOT SLEEP left little room for free time that could be spent reading. And if there was time? I was so brain dead I could barely slog through the various books regarding infant and child sleep that clutter our apartment.. But I’m on a mission to change that. I’ve dusted off my library card and have rediscovered the online catalog that allows me to streamline my visits and get exactly the book I’m looking for with no dilly-dallying. This is essential when dealing with a young one. Oh and fyi, the NYPL has a phone app now. I can request a book on the go! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this app! Jack threatens mutiny when he sees my laptop come out so anything I can do via smartphone, I do!

As far as I knew our local branch didn’t have a baby story hour so I had not explored it with Jack. He’s a whirlwind of destruction and I felt that he wasn’t quite ready for the library. He doesn’t listen so well sometimes…  In any case a book I had put on hold via that nifty phone app had arrived and I thought that this was perhaps a good excuse to introduce the little man to one of my favorite places. Deep breath before opening those doors…

Please behave, please behave, please behave, please behave…

Well as soon as I put him down in the children’s room he ran up and down the rows making this weird gasping for air, excited noise he makes when he’s super happy. Basically the child was high on books. Which is fine by me! Breathe in that book filled air, my child! He was a little wild, but it was due to pure excitement not willful bad behavior. He calmed down enough to try out a few books with me and our mission was successful: one fire engine book, one kitty cat book, one car book, and a bedtime book snuck in for good measure. I asked the children’s room librarian if we should check out there or downstairs where I had a book for myself on hold, “it’s his first trip to the library” I explained, “so I don’t know how the children’s section works”. She pointed us downstairs for checkout but first ran behind the desk to get us a surprise! In honor of the young man’s first visit to the library we were given some materials on reading together, a bag to carry our books home in, and a calendar of our branch’s children’s programs!

So now we’re walking down the big staircase and I’m fighting back giant, happy, sentimental tears. God I love this place. I was so happy, I let Jack go up and down that giant staircase three times (ow my back…). After retrieving my book and checking everything out (complete with a total toddler tantrum meltdown  because I wouldn’t let him touch the librarian’s computer) we walked out into the brilliant summer sunshine and promptly accosted a fellow library goer to document this moment. Jack’s first trip to the public library! Oh God I’m tearing up again…

He’s pointing at the M96 crosstown bus. Cause BUSES ARE AWESOME.

At home reviewing the calendar I see that I’ve made a huge mistake. Relying solely on the online info I’ve completely missed the fact that our local branch as a weekly picture book time “for all ages” and a library play time scheduled weekly for the under 2 set. I COULD HAVE BEEN SPENDING THE PAST 17 MONTHS AT THE LIBRARY. Moral of this story? Don’t abandon your local library!

We’ll be making up for lost time now. I’m sorry I haven’t been around a lot dear NYPL. I promise we’ll be better, and thank you to the 96th Street Branch for making my little boy a happy boy today…

I can totally read three books at once! (please notice the sleep themed book remains untouched…he’s too darn smart)


Baby’s First Library Visit! — 10 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this post and I totally agree, our libraries are greatly under appreciated! Kids LOVE going to the library!

  2. We love our local library. Love it. We visit about once a week, and my kids enjoy it so much. Aside from the books (which we check out LOTS), they have fun programs for the kids, and their reading programs are the best!

    We’ll be making a trip to the library tomorrow. 🙂

  3. My mother (faithful Barnes & Noble employee) asks that you provide some clarity – is there a difference between a bookstore, a library, and a daycare?

    • We do love the Barnes & Noble, BUT they have more money/budget than the library and so it’s really more a giant neighborhood playroom. They have train tables, DUPLO tables…and you have to pay to take the books home. I let him be noisy there. In the library you have to BE QUIET DAMNIT! And the right to borrow books is a privilege. A Daycare is…well, I don’t know, I don’t have one of those 😉

      Anyone who treats the Barnes & Noble or library as a daycare is a jerk.

  4. Hi:

    Annemarie Weisbeck shared your blog post with me today. I couldn’t agree more that libraries are awesome. I believe we will be sharing a house in the Poconos next week. I think we’ll all have a great time. Hopefully my children Ruairi & Clodagh will behave.

    The library where I work is River Edge Public Library out here in NJ. Check us out online and on Facebook.

    Daragh O’Connor

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