Back to School Reading
by Tracy Briseño
It’s back to school time; For my family, that means less free reading time, more early mornings and after school activities, and busy days. This could lead to us borrowing fewer books and reading less.
Instead what tends to happen is that our reading shifts. The high schooler reads more on Libby and turns to well-loved graphic novels for fun, quick reads. The fifth grader usually find topics from school or elsewhere that spark her curiosity. (Right now it’s biographies, but last year it was gross bugs.) The first grader gets hooked on a subject or type of book and asks for every book I can find about that thing. (We have checked out every giraffe book in the youth section and all of the animal scat identification books.) There is a change in my reading as well. I tend to take longer to read a book, read more on Libby, and listen to more audiobooks while I’m doing other things like driving or putting away laundry.
When they can’t make it to the library or the Bookmobile, my kids like browsing the catalog online with me and getting to pick out which books look interesting. We are very thankful for the volunteers who help pull books from the shelves to be held for us!
Sometimes the kids will use me as their personal librarian, and I bring home books that I think will be interesting to them. Fortunately, they don’t have to just rely on me. My high schooler knows our card information and can put books on hold online herself. (This has led to some surprising hold pickup volumes!) The kids have also connected with library staff themselves. They have stopped in to ask for suggestions, explaining what types of books they are looking for and talking through possible next reads.
Another feature we’ve had great luck with is Personalized Picks. With this, kids (or grownups!) can fill out a form about what they like and don’t like in a book. Then library staff will put together suggestions and email them back with links to the catalog. The lists include short synopses of the books which help us figure out what to place on hold and try out.
It turns out that when our schedules and habits shift, we are still a family of readers and book lovers!