A New Library

It was my daughter’s idea for me to start my own library for the grandchildren. Since COVID started my kids were hesitant to go to the library and missed the opportunity to choose their own books that the library allows. We all believe choice in books to be read is an important part of becoming a lifelong reader so we were left considering options. So seeing that I had just retired from public school and my ENTIRE library was now sitting on shelves in my office, it was only natural that I start “Bebe’s Library.” Of course I brought books to my grandchildren for each visit, and yes I left those books at their homes if requested but this idea was a little different. I decided I needed a way to make it official and allow my babies to choose books on their own.

The first step in making Bebe’s Library come to life was sewing personalized book bags. I searched through my stash of material and hand chose a fabric for each child, considering their favorite colors and patterns. I then ordered some webbing for the handles and started sewing personalized book bags for child. It felt official to make these bags for each one of my babies.

Next I had to come up with a system to check out the books. My kids told me they struggled with finding the books I loaned them amongst their own large collections so I found it necessary to come up with an easy plan to log the loans. I searched the internet for tips on how to set up a home library. There were complicated ideas of buying a scanner to process and label each and every book I own, or creating paper library card to the back of each book. Neither of those ideas seemed to be easy to develop and or maintain and seemed some what cumbersome to me, so I kept on searching and thinking.

I finally came up with a simple plan that allowed each child to borrow and track each book. Since my grandchildren love to take pictures on my phone, I decided to take that love and use it to track the books they borrow. To help us all recall who borrowed which book, I made sure each child includes their book bag in the background of the picture. Now when its time for the books to be returned I send along the picture to their parents to allow the kids go searching for the titles. So far the system seems to be working.

Being a grandmother librarian has added such joy to my day. Before each visit I consider each child and choose books that I think they might enjoy. I think about their age, their personalities, and the books that their cousins previously enjoyed. When I visit I bring along a huge stack of options and I share each title, giving them a little synopsis of the book. Most times they beg me to read each and every book so they can be truly informed about which titles they want to hear again and again in the comfort of their home. And of course I willingly comply. What could be better than a little one cuddled up on your lap listening to your every word? Besides that it feels so satisfying that all of my hundreds of books are being read and enjoyed once again. I love being a grandmother with a stash of books and little ones to share them with!

It’s Tuesday and I’m writing my slice of life post and sharing with the wonderful writing community over at Two Writing Teachers. I am grateful to this community of supporting writers.

11 Replies to “A New Library”

  1. What an awesome idea!!! I left my class library behind, only taking my very favorites (and often times find myself missing a particular book). I love your check out system along with the special bookbags you made for them and hope your idea inspires others. 🙂

  2. This is lovely. I’m thinking back to your post from last week, and I’m anticipating far far in the future, when your grandchildren are telling their grandchildren, “Let me tell you about Bebe’s Library, something so special that my grandmother made for me. . .” Beautiful.

  3. I just love your idea and am grateful that you shared all the details, including the individual book bags and the photos to remember which books need to be returned! I want to remind you how fortunate you are to have your grandchildren close enough for those frequent visits! (Mine are far away.) I know almost all the titles in your photos and can see you are a super librarian Bebe! I am in a Grandmother’s group and I plan to share your ideas with them. Sending love.

  4. Bebe’s Library will become a treasured gift to your grandchildren. I hope you take photos of them shopping for books so they can remember how it started. (I’m sure you’ll continue it once this COVID chapter is behind us.)

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