Gift Cards

As a family, we all like to read.

When the girls were younger, Keri and I made the deliberate decision to set aside a portion of every, single day to read to them.  We read Picture books, mainly. But, we, also, read Joke books, Cookbooks, Riddle books, non-fiction books about whatever happened to be of interest in their world at the time, crafting books and so on. We read to the girls because we valued sharing a portion of ourselves with them. Just us and just them. Usually, some cuddling and cosy times were involved. Often, good questions were asked and discussions held. In time, both girls sought comfort from books on their own and, as such, both have developed subject interests that reflect their personalities. Both read a lot. Since they are both growing up, they read less and less with us by their side and more and more on their own. But, they do read. In order to encourage them to continue reading on their own, we gave them a card. No, not a gift card to a book store. Instead, we gave them a card of immense value and importance and it didn’t cost us a dime. Keri and I gave each girl their own Library card.

If reading is our religion then, libraries are our church.

Public libraries are a gift to the world.  They provide access, within communities, to the totality of the world’s stories and ideas and opinions and they do this for free.  You can borrow almost any book on almost any topic and the good folks at your local library will let you borrow it for a few weeks for free!  DVDs, audio books, magazines……all free to borrow.  You can research historical documents, attend lectures, meetings and workshops, all for free!  A Library is a safe haven for the lonely, for seniors, as well as, for parents with newborn babies who just need some adult contact in order to maintain their sanity. Public Libraries, by their very nature, are open to all who seek inspiration or solace from stories or, who seek knowledge of the world around them. They are Holy places. Libraries are a treasure and the MacInnes Family loves them!

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This is our local public library. We wear it out!

When the girls were first born, up until they entered the school system on a full-time basis, they spent much of their time here. The Library had many programmes for toddlers and newborn children that exposed them to songs, poetry, drama, stories and crafting, all the while doing so in a social setting with other children. These programmes were fun. Pairing reading with pleasurable sensations is one of the keys to helping children develop a desire to become readers as they grow older. It is the same philosophy behind the bonding process that occurs in your home, with your newborn babe, when you hold them in your arms and sing to them or read to them. Babies soon begin to associate your words with the pleasure of being held close. After continued exposure to this combination, babies grown into toddlers who grow into young children who begin to automatically view books and stories warmly, even if you are not there to hold them. Our library did a great job of augmenting the loving parenting that our girls were getting at home. It was the beginning of a very wonderful relationship for our girls with public libraries in our area and around the world.

Whenever we travel, we make an effort to visit libraries. When we travel to Cape Breton to visit my mother, we always stop at the Glace Bay and the Sydney branches of the Cape Breton Regional Library System. Nanna has her own library card which she makes available to our girls whenever they visit. The beauty of this arrangement is that we do not have to pack copious amounts of heavy books when we travel “back home”. Instead, we go to the local libraries upon our arrival and stock up with enough reading material to last throughout our visit.

Sometimes, when we travel to bigger centres, just visiting gorgeous libraries is enough. This is certainly true of the beautifully-designed Halifax Public Library, which has been listed as being one of the top 10-20 public libraries in the world.  When we travel east to see my Mom, we always make a point of stopping in Halifax to see my sister, Mary. When we visit with my sister, we always end up at the Halifax Public Library.

Architectually-speaking, the Halifax Public Library is very modern looking and, certainly, a sparkling addition to the skyline of the city. All glass and interesting angles, the Library grabs your attention and draws you inside. Once inside, the library is dazzlingly bright and airy. The Halifax Public Library is five stories tall and hums with activity on all five levels. The design is amazing. People seamlessly flow in and all about the space. It is very well-stocked it is yet, ever so spacious. How clean the lines are in all directions. There is a coffee bar and a rooftop patio that is always busy. The roof is covered in organic material, too, that helps the building breathe, as it were.

As modern and airy as the Halifax Public Library is, the New York Public Library’s flagship branch, the Stephen Schwartzman Branch, is stately and classically-designed. On our recent trip to NYC, the very first place we visited was the library. What a gorgeous space; all marble and oak and an air of refinement.  We treated this space with reverence and moved through it in hushed steps and quiet manner. How lucky we were to have been there. How lucky New Yorkers are to be able to go there whenever they so desire.

Hopefully, as a family, we have many more travelling adventures in store for us. Wherever we end up, you can be assured that we will find a way to include a trip to the library on our itinerary.  But, you don’t need to travel the world to see a great library because a great library already exists within the comfort of your own community, ready to share the world with you there. If you haven’t visited your local library recently then, please do so. You might be pleasantly surprised at all it has to offer.

This month, libraries are encouraging citizens; especially families, to come in and sign up for free library cards. This is what we did years ago for our girls.  By providing access to the world of free books, these library cards have proven to be the best, most practical and cost-effective gift we have ever given to them.  Not long after getting their cards, they became aware that they were allowed to borrow fifty(!!!!!) books at a time. Now, when we go to the library, which is fairly often, we take those large, heavy-duty shopping bags with us……and we fill them to the brim!!! I kid you not. 🙂

Our girls are readers. Our family loves Public Libraries. Do yourself and your family a favour and visit your local branch today. The world awaits……….and it is all for free!!!!!!

8 thoughts on “Gift Cards

  1. Tom, such a warm and community-focused post. Thoroughly enjoyed hearing about yours and Keri’s encouragement to your daughters to read and take part in this important resource. I commend you for taking the girls to libraries on your travels – you set such a great example!

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    1. There is no better gift than to instill a love of reading in children. Any time either girl asks to go to the library or to a book store to spend their own allowance money or, simply, asks to have time to curl up somewhere in the house with a favourite book, we ae pleased. Thanks for your kinds words of support, as always. 😀

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  2. My granddaughter Riley and I went to the library after your last post to get “ the name of the tree” and sure enough it was there !
    We read it several times and several more before I return it next week!
    I too love libraries and have a membership to the Peterborough library (paid and really inexpensive) so I can go when we’re at the boat ❤️

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  3. Love your library tale and wow such amazingly designed libraries making reading a lifestyle! Love your local library view and seems to be perched in a cozy atmosphere. So much for the love of reading.

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