Watching My Daughter Fall in Love With the Library

I have vivid memories of frequently visiting the library in my hometown growing up. It wasn’t very big — actually it was just one room in a strip of stores on Main Street — but that didn’t stop me from devouring every book I could get my hands on.

When I was a little older, they built a big, fancy library in the next town over. That branch took me through longer chapter books, high school research papers, and study groups.

When my daughter was born, I figured we’d continue to be library regulars. We hit up baby storytime throughout my maternity leave, and whenever I had a weekday morning off of work. But as her home library grew, I found myself taking her less and less and just reading what we had at home.

That naturally led to me reading the same 10 books over and over, and it was driving me nuts.

I had been using the Lafayette Public Library’s Overdrive system to check out e-books while they were closed due to coronavirus, but once they reopened, I was itching to get my hands on a physical copy of something. I put a few books on hold, picked my 4-year-old up from school, and headed to the East Regional branch. My initial plan was to use their handy-dandy drive-through. But then it hit me.

Why don’t I take her in with me, and let her pick out some books of her own?

We got down, went inside, and as soon as we walked into the children’s area, her eyes lit up. She asked if she could get a book.

“Why don’t you get three?”

She could have exploded from excitement. We had to have a reminder about “library voices.”

After carefully considering her choices, she proudly carried her books to the checkout counter. I grabbed my books that were on hold too, and home we went, chosen reading material under our arms.

As soon as we got home, she was ready to curl up and have me read her every last one of them. One of them twice, just for good measure. She was excited about the new stories, and I was excited about the new reading material.

The next morning she asked if we could go back to the library. No problem. I showed her where we returned the books we were finished with, and this time she picked five new books to take home with us.

I did a quick check on the LPL website to make sure we weren’t going to hit a checkout limit at the rate we were going. It’s 50 books at a time, in case you were wondering.

This time when we got home, and she jumped on her dad’s lap and had him start reading to her. Tales about robots, a snail, and unicorns ruled the rest of her weekend.

By Monday, she was ready for a return trip. And I’ll continue happily granting those requests as I watch her continue to fall in love with reading, and building her own memories at the library.

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Caitlin made her way to Lafayette more than a decade ago, after growing up in North Carolina and then graduating from the University of Georgia. Since then, she married the man who introduced her to Cajun country, and they welcomed their now 4 year old daughter into the world. She spends her days as the Digital Director for The Daily Advertiser, helping to coordinate video, photo, and online coverage of everything happening in Acadiana. When she’s not working or wrangling her tiny human, she can be found running (slowly), testing new baking recipes (ask about her almond poppyseed bread), or wielding a glue gun for her latest craft project.

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