Love of books lasts forever

Published 10:24 am Monday, March 15, 2004

By Staff
I think I was a reader before birth. This is not far from true, considering my brother is one year older and my mother read to him before I was born.
As a child, I spent hours choosing books from the public library and hours reading my books at home, at school and everywhere in between.
Loving books -- and the library -- as a child grew into an adult love of both.
There are so many ways a child can benefit from reading. Their vocabularies and imaginations are fueled, their interest in learning is higher. Children who read for fun are in a better position to read and comprehend what they read academically.
The Brewton Public Library has great programs for encouraging reading among children.
Becky Blackmon operates with what seems to be infinite patience and enthusiasm during "Story Time with Miss Becky" on Wednesday mornings at 10. The children's room at the library gives space where children can be active and really involved in reading.
I've seen these excited two-, three- and four-year-olds listen intently to Blackmon as she reads, and they jump in to participate in the story. And after a story or two, she engages the children with coloring or a craft.
I think one of the most valuable products of this program is the relationship it fosters between a child and the library.
Children who make friends with the library when they are very young are not intimidated by it as teenagers and adults.
They get to know the staff, they learn to respect the order and rules of the library, but they know that all of its services are there for them to use.
A child who begs mom to take them to the library for a Seuss story will not hesitate to stop at the library first when a term paper is assigned in high school.
In fact, that child will probably already know his way around the shelves and the computer catalogue system.
It's children like that who are now participating in Amanda Bradley's young adult reading program at the Brewton Public Library. Once a month the kids get together with Bradley to discuss a book that they chose and to relate its messages to their own lives.
Bradley has said that the young people who join the reading program are kids who like to think, like to be challenged. Children with those attitudes are in the best position to choose paths that expand their minds and increase their opportunities as adults.
The young children who come to the library for stories every week and the young adults who crave exposure to books and programs at the library are learning how to appreciate the library and view it as a source for entertainment and learning that's fun.
As they grow, their love of books will grow with them.