When I think about borrowing, I am reminded about times when I am in the middle of a recipe and I do not have enough of one ingredient. Let’s say I need a little flour. I can dash over to the neighbors to get the half cup of flour I need. Technically, I am not really borrowing the flour. Implied in this type of borrowing is the fact that the flour is not expected to be returned. Of course, as a matter of courtesy I will take my neighbor a piece of the cake I made with the “borrowed” flour. Borrowing books on the other hand, is a totally different kettle of fish and at the heart of what makes a library successful.
The library is in the business of book lending and instructing our youngest patrons what it means to be a good borrower. Borrowing a book from the library teaches book selection and engages children in learning how to make purposeful choices. This process creates lifelong readers and promotes leisure or recreational reading in children. Along with these benefits comes an implicit understanding that when you borrow a book you need to return the book on its due date so that others may enjoy it as well. Unlike the flour, someone does expect you to return the book within a certain period of time.
I would like to thank parents for partnering with me to instill this responsibility in their children. Deadlines build reading habits. If you know you need to return a book by the due date, you are more likely to actually read the book. When you help to remind your child and guide them in creating a habit of returning books on time they gain an understanding that they are part of a larger partnership with other borrowers who are trusting them to return their book. An added benefit is that you can observe your child’s book selections and gain invaluable insight into their personality and character, as well as ideas for how to better connect with them. Who knew borrowing was such an important part of building a community of readers!