Parenting Photography

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Library

The One with the Library

I looked at the weather yesterday and decided we needed to stock up on Ice Storm Essentials. Our list included a stop at the drug store for milk and cereal, and a stop at the library for all the books.

The boys yelped with joy. It’s been awhile since we’ve found made time to make it to the library. I justify it by pointing at the massive bookshelves all over our house, the piles of books sitting atop night stands and end tables, the books spilling off of tabletops in their playroom. We don’t need new books. We could read through everything on our shelves and not be required to purchase or borrow a book for multiple years.


These two brother sure do love the library.

On the way down the road, they chattered about which books they most wanted to seek out, which books they might even consider borrowing again. They asked me if I remembered where certain books were shelved, and I mumbled back some half-answer. After they jumped out of the car and began running toward the library building, a memory stirred from deep within the recesses of my Mommy Brain.

2010, OMG!
2010 on a snowier trip to the library. Also, those cheeks. Also, how weird is it that they’re standing in the same position with LittleBrother turned in toward BigBrother. WEIRD.

We’ve been making our way to and from the library for all of their lives. Baby Storytime came and went. Preschool brought about a decline in our attendance in library offered classes because of schedules and other activities like t-ball and soccer and so on. Last year, BigBrother tried to attend the spring after school program every other Friday, but wouldn’t you know it, he ended up with Friday baseball practice during the class time. While we’re not as involved as we once were, these two still love the library.

I sent them off to the kids’ section while I paid our fines (which I refer to as “supporting the library system”), and eventually made my way over to the children’s library. I rounded a corner and found them looking at books, but they didn’t yet know their mother had arrived. I listened to their conversation. Not facing one another, BigBrother focused on the shelf of graphic novels and LittleBrother staring intently at a new arrival, they carried on a conversation — about books. One assured the other that his pick would be good, while the other said that, yes, the second Pokemon seemed to be quite interesting. Next, they decided, they would go put their books down on the table and head over to the paperback chapter books to find their favorites.

In the Stacks

I snapped the photo. They both looked at me, their books still in hand. They didn’t even bother saying a word, just walked toward the kids’ table area and did as they said they were going to do. They set down their books. LittleBrother took off his coat and hat. They set off in search of new finds and old favorites alike.


I let them know I was heading off to find some books for myself. They barely acknowledged me, using stage-like library whispers to talk about main characters and plot lines and villains and everything I dreamed of my children discussing. I wandered the rows by myself, without holding the hand of a child or repeating, “Shh, we’re in the library.” For ten minutes, I made my way up and down the aisles, picking books off of shelves and judging them based on their cover. I eventually ended up in the New Arrivals section, picking and choosing, when suddenly LittleBrother was at my side.

“Mommy, BigBrother wants to get the book that I picked out but I found it first.”

“Don’t we live in the same house? Can’t he read it if you check it out?”

“I guess.”

He flopped back to his seat, not content with my guidance. Are kids ever content with their parents guidance?

By the time I made it back to the table, they had switched off the book in question, entering into a lively discussion as to whether or not the treehouse had a toilet. I sat down with my books, shook my head, and paged through my picks to see if I would take them home or not. They looked through their books, doing the same.

Checking Out the Books

Eventually content with our picks, we gathered our things, checked out, and walked back out to the car. On the ride home, not a peep came from the back seat as they began reading fully through their library picks — even sharing them back and forth. So much has changed over the years of our library visits, but I am glad that they still enjoy going — together. And I am so glad they have found joy in books.



Library Haul: August 2013

We visit the library a lot during the month, but one trip per month constitutes as the monthly haul. All the other weekly (or multiple times weekly) trips happen with the intent of trading out books that don’t strike our fancy or to pick up books we’ve requested from inter-library loan. Yesterday was our haul day.

First off, I have a (giant!) new library bag. It’s the BlogHer ’13 official swag bag!

Thank you, BlogHer!

It’s roomy for library haul day, wears very well as a cross-body bag and is a lovely shade of blue. Hooray, and thank you, BlogHer!

We left the library with a number of books.

Library Haul, August 2013


I’ll tell you what we each picked, but first, a story.

I helped the boys each pick both age appropriate books and let them spend time looking for and picking whatever they so desired. They sat down at tables in the children’s section while I set off to search for books I might like, or, you know, books I was judging by cover since none of my holds made it to the library for haul day. I hit the new releases section, the religion section, the poetry area, the “so you think you’re a writer” shelves, and a few other shelves here and there. I made my way back to the boys, reached for my wallet in the library bag, and came up empty handed.

“Boys, I left my wallet in the car. Sit here and I’ll be right back.”

The clouds hung low and heavy as I walked out to the car. I reached into my purse as a flash of a memory of the morning passed through my brain. I sighed as I remembered that my wallet sat safely inside my laptop bag. At home. I grabbed the umbrella — just in case — and walked back into the library. I knew the answer, but I made my way to the front desk all the same.

“I’m sorry, but we’ve left our library cards at home in my wallet. Can we still check out our books?” I asked in my most sincere, please-have-pity-on-me voice.

“Not unless you want to buy new cards.”

I know that dealing with the local community day in and day out in the only place for free Internet access probably means that you don’t want to help people, so I didn’t hold her answer against her — even though I just told her that I had left my wallet at home. “Can you hold our books then? I’ll be back as quickly as possible.” She agreed, and I delivered the bad news to the boys. We handed over our picks to the librarian and walked outside — to a torrential downpour.


I opened my giant umbrella and we walked back to the car, no books in the new library bag — a sad scene indeed. By the time we made it home, FireDad greeted us at the door.

“Can we stay home with Daddy?” I nodded, grabbed my wallet, and headed back out in the bad weather. In a maxi dress. That was too long for my short stature, so every step from my car back into the library meant that my dress hem got wetter and wetter. All the same, we left with quite the haul this month.

Here’s what we each picked.

LittleBrother’s August Library Picks

LittleBrother's August Library Picks

Obviously, LittleBrother fell in love with The Puppy Place series by Ellen Miles. Really, he loves any books about dogs, but he desperately wants to be reading chapter books right now. So, these are his default love right now.

BigBrother’s August Library Picks

BigBrother's Library Picks

BigBrother forgot to use his Library Voice when I pointed at the Origami Yoda series. Really, this prompted today’s whole library visit as I looked on the website and saw that both were sitting on the shelf. He read the The Secret of the Fortune Wookie when we purchased it at the library’s Book Fair earlier this summer, and wants to read them all. What a happy boy today!

My Library Haul

Jenna's Library Haul

I don’t want to talk about any of the books that happen to be about writing in any way. Only one of those books (Note to Self) is fiction, and that makes me sad… but my holds should come in by next week, so I didn’t want to get too many at the same time. I do like to get a poetry book with every large library haul, and it’s been a long, long time since Plath slipped into my bag.

Note: FireDad couldn’t make the trip for the big haul today, so he’ll likely go on a random trip during the month to get some books.

We’ll take some books back over the month, get some new ones, and read as much as we can before our next big haul in September. Do you have any suggestions for us?