From Wee Willie Winkie to War; from Dr. Seuss to Socrates, the wisdom of mankind resides in the libraries of our country. During National Library Week, April 17-24, 1988, children everywhere are made mindful of the importance of the library and the services that are provided.
Second graders in Camille Osborn's class at the Lone Peak Elementary, Jordan School District, recently talked about the library and the role it played in their lives.Britt Wells used the library for research. "Whenever you have to do a report and you don't have a book that your report is on, you can just go to the library and they'll have 3 million books for you . . . "
Tommy Moon also found research an important element and found that the library had his interest at heart: "It has a lot of dinosaur books. That is what I like about the library most of all."
Reading about the book is enjoyable to Emilie Jaussi. "I like reading about the author in the back of the book when I finish a story." The class agreed that the more you read, the better you got at it, and Matthew Pendleton added that " . . . if you read good you can read books without pictures and use your imagination."
Angela Robertson summed it up for the class, "I wish I could go there two times a day!"
Sixth graders who have had more years of experience with the library still feel that it adds to their lives. "The first person that got me a library card was my dad, and I've been taking trips to the library ever since," said Helen Langen.
Kellie Fredrickson said that the library is important because ". . . it is a place where you can get things that transport you into a whole different century or even a different world. These books can make you relax, get you excited and can make you cry . . ."
Bradley West advised that, "When you are bored and you have nothing to do, go to the library and check out a couple of books to read."
These 11-and 12-year-olds in Vicki Smith's class at Bountiful Elementary, Davis District, uses the library to get an understanding of what war means. One book that made an impact on them was "Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes" (Eleanor Coerr, Putnam, 1977), the story of a child of Hiroshima who fell ill with leukemia as a result of radiation from the bomb.
Not only have the learned about the hazards of war through the portrayal of a 12-year-old but also the tradition of folding 1,000 paper cranes, which, when given to a sick person, will make them well again.
The class also is folding 1,000 paper cranes as a statement of peace. "Studying `Sadako . . .' is a way for my students to see that war is not a glorified thing and that even though our technology has advantages we do have the capability of destroying ourselves. I hope the children get a different prospective of war beyond the G.I. Joe and Rambo mentality of violence. The many novels, poetry and nonfiction should lead them on their way to a better understanding."
The theme for the 1988 National Library Week is "The Card with a Charge!" advocating that everyone obtain a library plate and use it! And this week as you go to the library here are some other things to do:
1. Find books that will start a family hobby; for example, collecting leaves, postcards or camping.
2. Locate "chapter-a-day" books to read for the family.
3. Learn to use the computer checkout, if it is not already known.
4. Ask for a list of services that the library can/does offer. You'll be surprised with then number of functions the public library serves.
5. Look for books that can be read to prepare the family's vacation this summer.
6. Find books for Scouting awards, craft projects or family activities.
7. Check out something besides the books; for example, tapes, magazines or art prints. But don't forget the books!
(SB) Marilou Sorensen is an associate professor of education at the University of Utah specializing in children's literature.