As someone with a degree in library science, it may come as no surprise to readers that the library is one of my favorite places. Today’s column includes five things that connect to that magical place, and I hope it inspires you to enjoy your home, church or local library.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the meeting room at our public library listening to the children’s librarian read this picture book to the Early Reader Book Club. As with any well-written picture book, this book has a message that speaks to readers of all ages. The teacher in the book encourages the main character, Vashti, to give art a try, even though she doesn’t think she can be an artist. I think about the ways that God whispers this same kind of encouragement to each of us — when we think we can’t do it. Let’s all listen for God’s voice whispering, “I bet you can.”
2. A New Library
In our community, we’re looking forward to the spring when a new library opens in our town. With enhanced facilities, new meeting spaces, and a bright, welcoming environment, our community is very lucky to be watching the library move steadily toward completion. The public library is the only place where everyone is equal — everyone is welcome, there’s no expectation to spend money and anyone can attend the free classes, clubs, discussions and other activities. Check out what programs your library is offering this winter and take advantage of the activities while you meet people, learn new things and build a stronger community.
3. The Christmas Story
Last week our church library committee put all the Christmas resources on display. It’s exciting to see the stories for all ages, from board books to adult devotionals helping readers of all ages prepare for the birth of Christ. There have been great posts of Advent devotionals recently, but I wanted to highlight one of my favorite kids Christmas books. The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher
is richly illustrated and written in the style of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas
4. Challenge Yourself
Our public library has a winter reading bingo challenge for the months of December and January. I encourage you to challenge yourself in the next two months. What could you read to stretch yourself this winter? A book by someone you disagree with? A book by an author of a different nationality than yours? An article written from a different political or theological perspective? How can you continue to be curious about the people around you? I find that challenging myself to be curious is the first step in loving those around me. Looking for some direction? Google “diversity reading challenge” for some prompts to get you started.
5. Share a Story
It seems natural to snuggle small children on our laps while we share a picture book, but we sometimes forget that people of all ages love listening to a good story. With whom might you share a good story this holiday season? If you don’t have children at home, will you see some at your extended family gatherings? Is there an elder in your congregation who can no longer read easily for themselves? Do you have stories you remember from your own childhood — or those of your children’s childhoods that you would like to share? Invite friends or family over for Christmas goodies and invite everyone to bring and read (or retell) their favorite Christmas story. Give the gift of your time and share a story.