My daughter's first library card

A Literary Rite
Of Passage

Sunshine has been asking to get her own library card for over a year now. I told her that she could get her own card the summer she's four and when she can write her name.

Little Girl at Library
As she is four, it's summer, and she can write her name correctly (most of the time), the time had come.

Every year, our town library sponsors a summer reading program, as do many across the country. With a different overall theme every year, and the promise of a book to take home and an ice cream party at the end of the summer if you read or are read to for a designated amount of time a day, the library probably is just as busy, if not busier during the summer months as it is during the school year.

Summer fun at the library

Last summer, Sunshine was conscientious to make sure we read to her for the requisite time each day so she could color in her special chart. Ice cream party day was marked on the calendar, and she was so proud to turn in her chart, choose her book, get her sundae. This year, in addition to the usual fare, the head children's librarian has promised to kiss a pig if the kids in town read a certain (high) amount during the summer. She will kiss that pig, I tell you, and we won't miss the sight. Sunshine will make sure of it.

Gimmicks are not the only thing that draws Sunshine to the library. She genuinely loves books and could sit and be read to for hours. But the gimmick is what reminded her that she had been promised a library card this summer, just as her brothers before her in their four year old summers.

Getting ready for the big moment

In preparation for the big event, Sunshine sat at the kitchen table and practiced writing her name, first with her dad's help and then with my help. When she said she was ready, we made the trip to the library.

Shyly, but with determination, Sunshine walked up to the desk in the children's section. She asked the librarian if she could, please, get a library card. When the librarian said, "Of course!" her grin turned from big to mega-watt.

After I filled out the paperwork and handed over my library card to link the accounts, it was time for Sunshine to write her name on the form. She did so perfectly. Then she needed to "sign" her name on the card itself, which she did in perfect mirror writing. No matter. The card was hers, and she was so proud. Every person we encountered for the next twenty minutes was informed that she, Sunshine, had her very own library card.

An infectious pride

Upon choosing some books to check out, the pride increased as she set them on the checkout counter and handed the librarian her card. Everyone around us couldn't help but grin, too.

I hope this is a day Sunshine will remember. I know I will remember it. Today Sunshine has a tangible symbol of her love of books, a love I hope will continue her whole life.

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