Back in the Spring of 2017, right around the time Riley was 12 months old, we started this public library journey. She was a babbling, crawling baby. 00/72 was just the start. . .
It’s been over two years, and Riley is now 38 months old — a running, talking toddler! We only have five branches of the Los Angeles Public Library left to visit – we’ve been to 67/72. We’ve visited other libraries as well: on Catalina Island, Martha’s Vineyard, in Seattle, and in La Verne (which were not part of LAPL! See more library tourism on LibraryPlanet).
Since Riley’s birth in March 2016, I have been fortunate to only be working part-time, and have had the luxury of days off (and lots of help from my mother). I decided to use some of this privilege of time with my daughter, to take us all over Los Angeles. (Riley had no choice in the matter then, but she does now, and she actually asks to go to the library!)
I thought it would be cool to visit LA (a city I truly love) – by visiting all of the branches of the Los Angeles Public Library system. And what better way to get out of the house with a baby?! And now, toddler?! And what better way to set an example of being a citizen amongst citizens? Or something like that. . .
The best way to go about this, to me a tired mom who needed structure, was to plan to visit the libraries in order of branch number (each library branch has an assigned number 01-72, except Central Library which has no number – but I like to say 00).
We would check out books from each of the 73 locations and return those books to the next branch (you can return any LAPL book from any branch or Central to any other LAPL branch or Central – it’s pretty amazing). We would rub shoulders with other Angelinos and learn to be a kind member of society too . . or something like that.
The idea of this blog has sort of changed over the years, with what I once thought would be a description about the actual libraries – history and architecture of each one etc., has evolved into more of a simple log of what books we check out. What I thought would be the focus: each branch or neighborhood of LA, has turned out to be just a way to get us out of the house and discover more picture books and children’s literature. THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS! And, it’s also given us the opportunity to have human contact with people in our communities that we would possibly not get to interact with otherwise — the public and staff. Pretty amazing.
Hopefully we are inspiring other people to frequent their local libraries too. We don’t review each branch or review each book (which I sort of tried to do at the beginning), but rather just remind others that there are so many libraries out there and so many books you get to discover. Everyone gets to have their own experience. Whether we have a great time or just an ok time at any library is all I want. Whether Riley may love some books, or may dislike others (the same goes with me), the fact that she is so accustomed to having library books as part of her world now, is the practice I want to teach her.
Or something like that. . .
So go out and renew your library card or get one for the very first time. It’s a ticket to your city, and an ever giving gift card. And then, join us for the last five branches of our LAPL journey. Or better yet, start your own journey! We are so fortunate to have public spaces that we get to share.
Thank you Los Angeles, and thank you LAPL.