Teach them young.

Yesterday I mentioned that Gracie had brought home a rather hefty book from the library. I looked it over and read bits and pieces to make sure it was still age appropriate (given that it was marked for a 4th/5th grade reading level), but I wasn’t too worried. See, Gracie and Ms. School Librarian are already close buds and I knew Ms. L. would already have checked on that.

It would be easy to assume that Gracie and Ms. Librarian grew close because Gracie runs through four or five library books a week – and I’m sure that’s part of it. Gracie always seems to have the new (to them) Magic Treehouse Mysteries before the other kids and I’m pretty sure Ms. L. is stashing them away for her favorite student. But it’s more than that: Gracie “works” in the library.

It took a bit of Q&A and lots of patient listening to get the entire story because for the many things I love about the girls’ elementary school, being proactive and telling parents about things is NOT one of them. So I found out when Gracie came home from school one day and said she had a job working in the library. I asked Gracie if she worked in the library because she was bored or if it was because she was always finished with her work first, and I was sort-of right. As part of the G&T program, each participating student volunteers in a selected areas of the school.  Older students help in the office, some students work in the computer lab, some in the cafeteria, and some volunteer in the library. Like Gracie. [Aside: While discussing the different stations a student could volunteer for, Bee declared her lifelong dream of becoming a Cafeteria Lady. “Because everyone is happy when they get food, Mom!” Riiiight. Sigh.]

I love with brilliance of 10,000 suns the fact that Gracie chose the library. I’m not surprised: the child does love her some books. I love that she instinctively gravitates towards what makes her happy instead of being all milktoast and just going where she’s randomly assigned. Orrrr seeking out the power she clearly also loves possessing and trying to stage a coup d’etat in the office, now that I think of it. But I also love it because I volunteered in any number of libraries when I was growing up. During budget cutbacks, we frequently lost our school librarian position. Our library wasn’t much to speak of anyway – maybe a 20×10 partition in the middle of the all-purpose room – but I remember my mom and the other PTA moms taking turns volunteering to take classes to the library to select books to borrow. Because my mom was frequently there, I got to stay behind and help re-shelf books. When I moved on to junior high and high school, I often took the bus to my former elementary school and re-shelved books and chose display books and volunteered at the library doing whatever else was needed. The countless hours I spent volunteering helped get me into college. And while I was in college, I had a paid internship at our central city library during the summers.

It’s nice that Gracie and her classmates are learning so young about the importance of volunteerism. The fact that Gracie’s face lit up when she discovered we had something in common…well, that was just priceless. Maybe if I’m very lucky, I can convince Bee that heart lies not with food, but with the light, the Good, the bookish.

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6 Responses to “Teach them young.”

  1. Agent Torklepants Says:

    I remember when i “worked” at the library. I was in charge of the round stickers. Idk if they actually went on books, but they were always in that desk and i got to make sure everyone had one =]
    And did i forget to tell you that Bee declared this dream of hers to me on the phone? She said she wanted to be a cafeteria lady or a cop. Then i suggested that she could be a cafeteria lady IN a police station or jail (you’re welcome!) =0D but maybe you should start showing her Julia Childs clips and push her towards being a chef =]

  2. Kathy Says:

    Love that Gracie works in the library. I worked in the cafeteria. Please tell Bee no everyone is happy when they get food.

  3. burghbaby Says:

    Library dorks are THE BEST.

  4. Julie Says:

    As I was reading this my first thought was how much you loved the library. It’s so cute that Gracie loves reading as much as you do. On a side note, wish you were closer so we could go see the Muppet movie together!

  5. Mary Says:

    That is AWESOME!

  6. Gayle Says:

    That is great!

    I used to volunteer at our town library and also at our elementary school. I would pick library over cafeteria any day!

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