What I’m excited about right now: Witnessing children’s learning and growth

September 29, 2022

Betty Collins, Children’s Librarian

What am I excited about? Childhood. 

Actually, I am excited about just plain being human, alive on an unbelievable planet filled with possibilities. But what makes childhood especially exciting to me is its flexibility and potential. The young brain is set up to grow itself in response to its own environment, including the love, care, and curiosity expressed by those around it. At Musser Public Library we get to be part of that adventure.

Like any rewarding undertaking –  mountain climbing, marathon running, or parenting, for instance – childhood is not easy! There are dozens of things that make it difficult. Biology, genetics, and the simple luck of the draw come to mind. In my own family (as in so many others), we have had to adjust to diagnoses that are poorly understood or downright incurable. On the more positive side, my family has a place to live and good food to eat, something that years of public service have taught me repeatedly not to take for granted. Nor did my children grow up in a war zone, or during a famine, or under a repressive political regime – circumstances that would also have been out of my control. 

There are so many reasons a childhood can be hard, and they can’t all be solved. But love, learning, connection and delight can be part of each day anyway. One of the most important lessons I have learned as a parent is that, ideal or not, a person’s childhood is the only one they get. Each day is a day to honor, perfect or imperfect. Public libraries hold a special place in America by offering a destination of value, free of charge, that helps children thrive in whatever circumstances are theirs at the moment. 

Libraries offer not only words, stories and information to children, but an opportunity to share them with others. At Musser Public Library we also try hard to honor the multiple ways children express themselves. Spoken and written language rise to the top of our list (of course), but we don’t exclude other forms of expression such as music, drawing, dancing, building and playing. We see the intrepid, creative nature of childhood every day. At the best of times, we revel in it: little children running to hug each other, young minds working out complex (if sometimes incorrect) theories about the world, imaginative stories illustrated by the young tellers, complicated structures made out of scraps, and friendships with each other that can expand to include the adults.

Want to hear some recent thoughts of children in the library? Check out Mr. Taylor’s new podcast featuring the voices of young readers and thinkers.  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/take-a-picture-walk/id1636526464 Want to come join a children’s or family program? Please do. We have many, and you can find them on our activity calendar. https://musserpubliclibrary.org/events/

We can’t promise perfection. Like childhood and parenting, our programs can sometimes be messy and unpredictable! We can promise to value children and their many languages of expression, their capable minds, and the importance and excitement of their journey.

“What I’m excited about right now” features one library employee at a time writing about their current favorites in books, magazines, music, TV series, movies, games or other activities that inform or entertain. 


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