To Buy or Not to Buy?

Picking blueberries, like almost everything else, puts me in mind of a book. On weekly trips to the library when youngest son Mark was about four, Blueberries for Sal was either going or coming. One week he checked it out. The next week, he took it back. Other books joined the stack, but back and forth, there was always Blueberries for Sal.

Now, you might ask why I didn’t buy him a copy if he loved it that much. Truth is, I did think about it. I bought him books, after all, but I decided we might lose something important – like his love of trips to the library.

Fast forward with Mark a few years to the summer between second and third grade. Now it’s the Hardy boys series. Check one out the first week. Take it back the second and check out another. He may have been stuck in just one series, but at least it was a different book each week. He’d finished all the ones at the Fort Sam Houston’s post library by time for school to start and then looked for more in the school library.

Another jump in time and my now junior high son stayed up all night to finish Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Intrigued when I told him the author had been challenged to see if she could write a book about a mathematician that was actually interesting, this math-lover decided to check it out. [Both Mark and the Newbery Committee thought she did.]

If I had it to do over, I would still buy some books but leave Blueberries for Sal and the Hardy Boys at the library. I had affirmation of my decision this past week when poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich posted this quote from Ray Bradbury on Facebook: "Libraries raised me. I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."   

I’m glad Mark also got to go to college, but he had a lot of fun and education purchased with a free library card. You’ve gotta’ love that library!