I love the library we visit because it's the same one I went to as a little girl. There is a newer, nicer library across town now, and most of my friends go there, but I prefer my old library. I love that some of these books could be the exact ones I read when I was a child, now coming home with me once again.
But even my small library can be overwhelming. So many books crammed into the shelves. How do you choose? I used to wander around picking out books that looked interesting or had well designed covers, but after taking home too many books that I was all too glad to return to the library, I decided we needed a new system.
When I was in college I kept two 3x5 cards in my wallet at all times. One was a list of movies I wanted to see (I was a film major at the time), the other a list of books I wanted to read. Whenever I came across a review of a book or a movie that seemed interesting I would write the title down. The next time I was standing at the video store wondering what to rent, I would pull out my little card and have a long list of movies.
So we never go into the library empty handed. My sister in law introduced me to The Read-Aloud Handbook, written by Jim Trelease. The first half of the book explains why reading is so important for kids, and the second half is a huge list of the best books. I have loved most everything on his list and my copy is now covered with notes and stars and checks so we remember what books we've read, and what books we loved so much we should just buy for our library at home.
I also keep a few lists with my book, a copy of the Caldecott winners, a list of suggested books from C's preschool teacher, a list of favorite children's book authors. (I've put together a list of the Caldecott winners that you can download here.)
And we're now using a library bag. We get six books out of the library each time we go, so we always have the same amount of books out at a time. Books can get scattered around the house pretty easily, so our library books are kept in a different place than our other books, so we're not searching the entire house looking for one lost book.
Here's a sampling of the books we borrowed this week. We try to make it to the library every other week. Books are due in three weeks, so if we go to the library every two weeks, we never have to worry about overdue books. Happy reading!