My first library card was like a magic key.
It unlocked a literary world with characters and cultures vastly different from those I’d encountered in Wise County.
A teacher brought a group of us, all Alvord students, to the Decatur Public Library, which was located at the corner of Church and Shoemaker at that time.
I remember painstakingly signing my name in the awkward, large cursive of someone who is required to write on wide-rule notebook paper.
Although details like my age and grade escape me, I remember the first book I checked out – “The Borrowers,” by Mary Norton.
Published in 1952, it is the first in a series of children’s fantasy novels about tiny people who live in the homes of regular-size people and “borrow” things to survive while keeping their existence unknown.
This is where it gets fuzzy again.
I have a vague memory of the cover, but I don’t remember much about the story or the main characters – The Clock family. In fact, my memories of the tiny characters begin to overlap with memories of “The Littles,” a series of books by John Peterson, which is perhaps best-remembered by my generation as a cartoon television series in the early ’80s.
I may not recall a shred of “The Borrowers” plot or the details of these tiniest characters, but I do remember an overwhelming sense of pride returning home with my card and book.
A library card could be the simple encouragement, or magic key, your child needs to build good reading habits.
If your child doesn’t already have a library card, now is a great time to go get one. Local libraries are gearing up for their summer reading programs that offer not only great stories, but also entertainment, education and the opportunity to interact with peers.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find in area communities:
Bridgeport Public Library
The program has two sessions every Wednesday June 16 – July 21. Session one is 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and session two is 3 to 4 p.m.
Students who have completed kindergarten through fourth grade may participate, and registration was to begin May 26. Sign up at the library or call (940) 683-3450.
Librarian Pat Stegall said Critterman is scheduled to appear June 30, and Dan Gibson, the banjo-playing storyteller, will present his program July 14.
Expect other interesting performers and fun crafts.
Chico Public Library
Library staff want their youngest readers to “Catch the Reading Express” every Thursday 10 to 11:30 a.m. June 3 – July 8.
The schedule includes:
- June 10 – Creature Teacher
- June 17 – Miss Maria will perform live and interact with the audience as she entertains with upbeat music, puppets and games.
- June 24 – Singer and storyteller
- July 1 – Fire safety
- July 8 – End of program party
For information call (940) 644-2330.
Decatur Public Library
The summer reading program in Decatur is sponsored by the Decatur Library Foundation, and it’s every Tuesday at 11 a.m. June 15 – Aug. 3. Students can pick up a reading log, and those who participate in all eight weeks will have a chance to win a ride to school in a fire truck.
The schedule is as follows:
- June 15 – Come see how exotic animals move with Zooniversity
- June 22 – Do some crazy cool experiments with Mad Science
- June 29 – Cool School with Ms. Maria
- July 6 – Puppet show with Ms. Katie and Ms. Diane
- July 13 – Climb around on huge vehicles at Rolling and Reading
- July 20 – Get on your feet for a good time for Xtreme Kidz with Debbie Day!
- July 27 – Decatur Fire Department Clown Brigade
- Aug. 3 – Critterman
The library is also hosting a Teen Online Summer Reading Club June 14 – Aug. 5. Teens in fifth grade and up can participate and even have the chance to win an iPod Touch. Visit www.tinyurl.com/TSRCentryform to enter.
Call the library for information at (940) 627-5512 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.