My parents read to me a lot as a child and with my next sibling, Ariane, not being born until I was almost 8 years old, I found a lot of company in books once I was able to read on my own. I grew up in Columbus, OH, and I have fond memories of the old children's area that had a live oak tree growing right through the middle. I've tried to find pictures online of it to no avail, but here's another library with a tree inside to give you an idea of the effect:
Now, honestly, I was quite scared of the tree, but at the same time it mesmerized me, kinda like the big tree in Avatar, I guess! My cousin and I used to have a lot of fun visiting the library and getting into trouble too. Once we snuck naked baby dolls into the bathroom to see if their "pee-pee hole" would work properly. Her mother found us in the midst of our experiment and yanked us outta there so fast!
One of my favorite childhood books given to me (by the same cousin!) was Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. I will definitely look forward to reading it to Baby Agbai:
The pictures were gorgeous, and I would imagine myself being transported to Africa, meeting a snake and him turning into my prince. It was a Reading Rainbow book, and I was obsessed with that show - even Uka remembers the book too from the show, but I highly doubt he read it. He'll get lots of practice with Baby Agbai, I'm sure!
Being older, I still visit the library, and when I moved to NYC one of the first things I did was sign up for a library card. We have a good branch near us - Hamilton Grange. They have many children's programs as well, and I often see pre-school groups visiting there.
One of my favorite NYC branches is the SIBL or Science, Industry, and Business Library, especially being that I'm entered in their business plan competition. They have so many free classes and a wealth of resources to help any budding or experienced entrepreneurs. So far I've taken trademark and SEM classes in addition to the required (free) classes on finance, marketing etc. for the competition. There are also SCORE classes there too which are $49 but well worth it for the information you receive. These classes also provide good opportunities for networking. It is like a mini-business school unto itself.
Besides the business side, I like getting other books at the library too, but usually only non-fiction. For some reason since I was a child, I've always preferred reading non-fiction. I'm such a nerd and love reading biographies, business titles, interior design/lifestyle and general self-improvement books. When I do make a foray into fiction, I rarely feel satisfied when I'm done. It could be I'm reading the wrong books, but when I'm done I'm like "Oh, that really didn't happen" or "I didn't learn anything." I know that can make me sound boring, but I turn to TV shows like Lost for my fantasy world. Just my personal preference! I'm sure when Baby Agbai comes along I'll get lots of fiction practice and may even someday get into Harry Potter (**shudder!**).
I'll always continue my love affair with the public library, and if you have any book recommendations, please share!