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our library routine

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!

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Reader Comments (45)

Thanks for posting about The Read-Aloud Handbook. I checked it out of the library last week and think I will probably buy it so we can follow your lead and make notes of the books we enjoy in it. I have a little guy that is almost 2, so he is just now really getting into spending some time reading stories!

04.15.2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah b.

I LOVE the library! I especially love that I can go online, pick books I want, and the librarians will pull them for me, set them aside and email me when they're ready. So when I take my boys, we can browse the kids section and all I have to do is grab my already selected books.
Also, I love the Read Alound Handbook. It was a gift from my mom-in-law when my 1st son was born and I consulted it regularly. I need to pull it out again and get new inspiration!
And finally, I too try to keep the library books in one spot, but they invariably get mixed up with our own books and it's always a big hassle trying to hunt them down. I need to be more diligent about their segregation (and make sure my husband's in one the plan too so he doesnt reshelf them with our books)

04.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

So interesting to think about things we used to do (write down books to be read on a 3x5 card) and how those things are done now (iPhone apps about books to be read)!

We love the Read Aloud Handbook. I read it in college as an education major and it's really had an impact on my teaching and parenting. I started reading chapter books to my babies while they were still in high chairs per his suggestion. I don't know if it would've occurred to me to do that otherwise!

Btw, still loving your blog! I'm reading it like a book. Started last night & have been slowly working my way backwards. :-)

10.7.2009 | Unregistered Commenterabbie

Thank you for sharing this. It's a wonderful idea. I think there are more bad children's books than any other kind of book. Maybe it's because they're so short and quickly written. But my son and I go to the library every Friday afternoon and I have been feeling like I need a system. There is also The New York Times Guide to the Best Books for Children, which covers Wordless Books to Young Adult. You might find that of use when your children get older. I am going to start taking my copy, and a blank notebook, with me to jot down ideas for books.

11.12.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I had the pleasure of hearing Jim speak at a conference. It is such a great resource! I'm glad you discovered it and shared it! Happy Reading!

08.19.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

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