Summer is speeding by, but there’s still time to sign up for the library’s summer reading program online. In fact, online is the ONLY way to sign up, as my family learned after a recent outing to the library. Except if you’re under four, in which case, you need to come to the library to register. But not during a toddler story time, as those are likely booked out if you didn’t call or show up at 10:00am on the third Wednesday of the month.
My relationship with the PLCMC is complicated. It’s a tale of love, hurt and forgiveness. Hopes and Great Expectations, confused and confounded at the intersection of reality.
The idea for the online tracker is a good one. My school age kids are used to “logging in” and enjoy seeing their efforts tracked nicely. But, from a marketing standpoint, it usually makes sense to “strike while the iron’s hot.” What’s a better “Point of Sale” than a child actually being at the library and wanting to sign up?
My aggravation with the library runs deep. Last summer, after suggesting that our babysitter take the kids to the library for a fun outing, my daughter came home in tears. Really. When they got to the checkout with their selections in hand, the librarian told my son that he had $5.25 on his card in late fines. The maximum allowable to take out books was $5.00. Period. Our flustered babysitter didn’t have any cash. Sorry kids, no books today. Which led to a bit of a public display of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the injustice of it all. But, the steely woman held firm. Now, my daughter cuts a wide path around the check-out desk, eyeing the librarian with suspicion. Lesson learned.
Some kids, like my daughter, are born to read. She traces the shapes of big letters with her finger, sounds out words and laughs when it all clicks together like a fun puzzle. Others, like my son, were frustrated and angry at the process. But, he loves charts and graphs, and promises of being entered into a drawing for a new PC when he hits the 20 hour mark. So far, he’s blown through a dozen Hardy Boys books and keeps track of his reading time on scraps of paper that he tallies up at the end of the day for me to enter.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hater. When I was little, I fell in love with the library and I’d like my kids to feel the same way. But PLCMC’s love seems to run hot and cold. I’m not quite sure how this story’s going to end.