Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When Library Time Means Screen Time -

Fifth graders in a school library in Brooklyn.Credit James Estrin/The New York Times

Lately, my 4-year-old
and I have been having a conflict about the library. One of us wants to
go. This is not a debate that is playing out according to plan.
If you guessed that I
am the one pushing to visit our local branch of the Brooklyn Public
Library, you’re mistaken. I wish I were. I’ve always loved going to the
library. I’ve been a bona fide bookworm for most of my life. As a little
girl, I loved the hush of the library, the promise it held. Although
the Dewey Decimal System was daunting, I could usually find what I was
looking for: books by Judy Blume and John Bellairs when I was young;
biographies of old-timey stars like Natalie Wood and Joan Crawford when I
hit my teens. And now, as a mother, it’s about the pleasure of loading
up on books with my children to take home; rediscovering old classics
like “The Snowy Day” and newer ones like “Traction-Man Is Here.” 

Or rather, it should
be about that. Recently, I’m very surprised to hear myself muttering to
my partner, sotto voce: “I don’t want go to the library.” I tell my
children that we will have to go another day, when really, I’m putting
it off until winter arrives and our choices are much more limited.
Right now we have the park, the playground and the ball field, areas
that are decidedly computer-free. Because, thanks to an influx of
computers at our local library, library time has come to mean screen
time.

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