Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Bedtime Story (9/8/2017)

I recently took a trip to my local library and it was really lovely to see several children there, exploring books!  It put me in mind to write a story about it. :-)

To hear the story as a podcast, just click here!

Lola At The Library

"Where are we going?"  Lola frowned, as she and her mum walked past the park.  "You said we were going somewhere fun, but the swings and slide are over there!"

Mum chuckled to herself.  "There are other fun things to do in town, besides playing on the swings and slide," she told Lola.  "You'll see!"

Together, they walked past the bakery, the doctor's surgery and the bank.  Finally, they stopped outside a building Lola had never been in, before.  There were bright posters all over the double doors.  Lola shrugged at her baby brother, as he sat, oblivious, in his pram.  

"Come on," Mum said, pressing a button on the wall.  The double doors swung open and Lola found herself inside what looked like a massive room, full of shelves.  There weren't just shelves against the walls, either.  There were shelves everywhere.  And each shelf was crammed full of books.  "This is a library," Mum explained.  "We're going to get you a library card, today.  Then, you can borrow any of these books you like and take them home for a while."

Lola blinked at the shelves.  She liked stories - every bedtime, she had to have at least three.  But there were far more than three stories, here!  "Any book?!"  She gasped.

"Any book," Mum replied, with a smile.  

"So, a library is just a place that lets you take books home, then?"  Lola asked.  "And we're here to get some brand new stories?"

"We're here to get some brand new stories," Mum agreed.  "But there's lots more to a library than just being a place to borrow books.  Have a look around," she told her.  "I'll go and speak to the lady at the desk, whilst you explore."

Lola stared around the library, with wide eyes.  She began walking along an aisle, with bookshelves either side.  The books were big, thick and old-looking; not like her story books at home.  She wanted to take one down and have a look at it, but she wasn't sure she'd be able to lift it!

"Are you alright, there?"  A smiling man asked.  "My name's Tim and I work here," he added, pointing to a name badge he wore.  "Did you want to see one of the encyclopaedias?"

"An encyclo-what?!" 

Tim laughed.  "An encyclopaedia," he repeated.  "They're special books that teach you about all sorts of things.  They've got so much information inside, that these ones are split into alphabetical order."  He took one from the shelf.  "This one goes from A-D," he explained.  "So, you can find out about everything from aardvarks to Dutch pancakes!"

"I like pancakes," Lola grinned.  "But I can't really read, yet.  These big books might be a bit long for my mum or dad to read to me at bedtime, too..."

Tim nodded his head.  "Shall I show you the children's section?"

Lola followed him to a brightly decorated corner.  There were lots of story books and even cardboard picture books, like the ones Lola's baby brother had at home!  Not only that, but there were little sofas for children to sit on, a table with colouring pens and paper and a small toy chest.  "This is awesome!"  Lola pointed to some drawings stuck up on the wall.  "Who drew those?"

"All kinds of different children," Tim replied.  "Some of the children who come to the library like to take their pictures home with them, but some of them like to have them stuck up on the wall, so they can see them next time they visit."  He smiled at Lola.  "We change them every month, so new pictures can go up.  You could even draw one for us, if you like?"

Lola beamed at him.  "I'm good at drawing!"  She picked up a pen.  "I think I'd like to draw an elephant.  But I might need a picture to copy..."

Tim gestured to the shelves.  "Well, we could find a book with a picture of an elephant in," he suggested.  "Or, we could go on the computer and print one off?"

Lola hadn't even noticed the row of computers against the far wall.  She gazed with wide eyes.  "Am I allowed on those?!"

"With a grown up," Tim replied.  "And you can print off pictures and take them home with you."

"What about those machines next to them?"  Lola asked, pointing.

"The first one is for looking at old newspapers," Tim explained.  "You can find out things that happened right here in town, hundreds of years ago!"  He pointed at the second machine.  "That's a photocopier," he told her.  "If you like a picture in a book so much that you want to keep it, you can make a copy of the page."

Lola could hardly believe it; she had wanted to go to the park, but here she was in a place where she could choose any story she liked to take home, or do a drawing, or play with toys, print pictures off the computer, or even learn about things that had happened years before she was born!  

Just as Lola was about to follow Tim to the computer, the doors opened and lots of boys and girls her age began piling into the library.  She stopped in her tracks.  "What's happening?!"

"It's almost time for our weekly songs and stories session," Tim explained.  All the children began rushing to sit on a big, round carpet in the children's section.  A kind looking lady sat on a chair in front of them and began handing out instruments to everyone.  "Would you like to join in?"  Tim asked.

"Yes, please!"  Lola grinned, scurrying over to sit with them.  Before long, she was chatting to some of the children who'd be starting school with her in September!

Mum waited until the end of the session, to tell Lola that her library card was all sorted and ready to use.  By that time, Lola was a fully fledged library fan!

"Mum, did you know that I can find out anything, here at the library?"  She gushed.  "I could pick any subject in the world and there's bound to be a book here that explains it.  And I've made some new friends here as well!  And did you know that I can play the tambourine?  That lady said I was really good at it!"

Mum smiled back at her.  "I'm glad you like it, here.  Would you like to choose a couple of books to take home, now?"

Lola nodded and rushed off to scan the shelves.  Mum followed.  "We'll go home and get some lunch, once you've checked out your books," she said.  "And maybe this afternoon, we'll go to the park?"

Lola shrugged.  "If you like, Mum," she replied.  "Just as long as we can come back to the library, another day!"

Mum laughed.  "You're turning into a proper little bookworm," she said.

"A bookworm?"  Lola frowned.  "What does that mean?"  She held up her hand.  "Never mind," she told her.  "There's bound to be a book in here that'll help me find out."

And with that, she hurried back to the shelves, with a big smile on her face.


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