The other day in the late afternoon chill I found myself in my vegetable garden digging up pepper plants to repot and bring inside for the winter. I trimmed the roots and removed the tiny peppers, watered them and set them on the step near the door waiting for me to find the perfect sunny spot indoors. What does this have to do with a library you might ask and I would answer that I had recently attended one of Bixby Library’s “Coffeehouse” programs and learned that peppers are perennials. The knowledge that was shared inside the four walls of the library interested me enough to carry it home, engage in the physical labor of digging in the wet clay soil and see if such an experiment might literally bear fruit! (I’ll let you know…)
So much of literacy is about what we take away from the written or spoken word—sometimes it’s practical and fun (as with the pepper plants) and other times it can be deeply personal and useful as a life skill. A child uncomfortable with her own angry feelings can connect with the monsters in the wonderful classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. As the monsters roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible teeth the child can identify and what a relief it might be in light of such powerful feelings to hear that Max is sent to his room to calm down. Even more powerful is the moment in the book when Max tells the monsters to, “Be still!” Who is really in charge of one’s own behavior? Parents can create boundaries and enforce the rules but ultimately it’s up to each of us to be in our own driver’s seat. What a great lesson to take away from a book and after repeated readings the lesson can settle somewhere deep and personally useful. There is great entertainment value in the story, too, which makes it even more attractive!
Check out the books and programs that are highlighted in this November newsletter. We hope to see you here attending a program or two and that a book you haven’t read before or a Bixby library experience will inspire you to take something new and useful beyond the four doors and make your life at least a little better!
-Jane Spencer, Bixby Library Director