Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A Gift Suitable for All Ages: A Christmas Message from Librarians Everywhere
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody.
It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
No such animal, right? Wrong. I'm talking about a library card.
I'll never understand it. Most adults these days carry cards of every description; most of them DON'T have library cards. So for the woman or man who has everything, why not offer everything else? -- access to the total accumulated knowledge of the human race, not to mention the most wonderful stories ever told.
Of course, the real winner of a gift like this is not an adult. It's a child.
Here's all you have to do to make your holidays a success. First, come down to the library and fill out a library card application for your child. Then, check out three of four books. Wrap the card and the books and offer them to your children in the fashion that your holiday traditions dictate. Save this very special package for last.
When the child rips it open, say that this unassuming little card will let him or her get presents all year long. Then read your child to sleep that night with one of the books.
After your children have gotten bored with their other toys, read them (or have them read) the other books, then trot them down to the library in that slow week at the end of the year. Teach your children about exchanging one present for another.
At the library, every day is Christmas. Behind every book cover there are riches. After introducing your kids to a treasure trove beyond Aladdin's wildest dreams, why not mosey over to the adult section, and browse through the latest offerings yourself? You know you deserve it.
Many people -- librarians, teachers, Secretaries of Education, even sport celebrities and actors -- have urged every child to obtain and use a library card. It's good advice.
Besides, at prices like these, who can argue? If you are not fully satisfied after a lifetime of learning and pleasure -- I'll cheerfully refund your money.
Trust me, this could be the best season's greeting card you'll ever send.
by James LaRue, Director, Douglas County Libraries, Colorado, December 24, 2007