Lost in Reading
By Julie Walker,
Georgia’s State Librarian
As I prepare to send my only child to college this week, it seems like a very appropriate time to remember some of the notable moments in his early learning days. As the son of a librarian, he had little choice but to grow up as a library child. (As an aside, there was much speculation that our bookmobile would deliver me to the hospital just across the street when I went into labor; thankfully, that is not part of his story!) He was a regular and beloved story time participant, staggering to the circulation desk under a stack of picture books nearly as tall as he was. He also knew which staff members kept candy and toys in their desk drawers in anticipation of his visits.
One of my most cherished memories, however, happened in his school’s media center when he was in first grade. His class was enjoying library time. Each student selected a book to check out, and then had a few moments in the center to do quiet reading. But when the children returned to the classroom, his teacher noticed that Robert’s seat was empty. After a few puzzled moments, she walked back to the media center, where she found him, sitting quite alone, absorbed in his book. “Robert, why didn’t you get into line and come back to our room with the rest of the class?” “Oh, did you ask us to line up? I didn’t hear.”
When the lovely teacher related this story at the end of the day, my heart flipped over a little. Isn’t that the case when you see your own traits reflected so vividly in your child?
Last night, I walked in his bedroom. The 18-year-old young man who will live with us only four more days was sitting in bed, lights low, reading a book, so much like that first grader. And I knew at that moment, with books and the love of reading at the heart of his life, that he’s going to be just fine.
A unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Georgia Public Library Service is the state library administrative agency. With GPLS support, Georgia’s public libraries serve as community anchors and provide equitable access to materials, knowledge and technology that is required to transform lives and enable residents to succeed educationally, economically, personally and professionally.