Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Library practices in Osage vs your family

In Pawley’s chapter on the Sage Library, she discusses the reading and library use patterns of many families, from their similarities in material selection, to the number of books that a family member would have checked out at one time. One example is the John L. Whitney household. From their library records Pawley demonstrates a pattern of weekly charges to each of the children until they were approximately seventeen or eighteen, when she predicts that they left for college. She also discusses the possibility of a number of family members reading a book that was checked out on a single account. She acknowledges that this would affect the reading statistics of Osage but that it also affects the consumption of print culture within a family.

I am interested to know if anyone can recall any print consumption patterns from their own childhood. Did you take weekly trips to the library with a particular family member? Was there a limit to the number of books you were allowed to check out on those visits? Was there a specific time of day when newspapers filled your dinning room table or when you recall you family reading?

20 comments:

Eileen H. said...

I can remember making weekly or bi-weekly trips to the Central library here in Madison with my dad. I would go to the children's room, while he looked for his books on history and politics. I was allowed to take out as many picture books as I could carry. I also often made my own trips to the Monroe St. branch on my bike with my siblings and neighborhood friends (I grew up in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood). My dad was a newspaper reporter so we got the paper he wrote for daily (The Milwaukee Journal--an afternoon paper), as well as the morning paper--The Wisconsin State Journal. I guess it was also to give us a more "balanced" news coverage--the more liberal and the more conservative paper. Magazines could also be found in our household; we had subscriptions to "National Geographic World", "Ranger Rick", "Newsweek" and "The Atlantic Monthly".

hannahreese said...

i remember going to the library to get a stack of books soooo high..mostly thin books when i was younger. there was no limit, as many as a person could carry. i remember making it through my first chapter book. when i finished i was so happy i was on the floor kicking and screaming.

Kelly said...

My family used to live within a reasonable biking distance of Middleton Public Library, and my mother, sisters and I would go there together or individually. When I was in high school I often read three or four books a week (I wish I had the time for that now!), and when I ran out of my own library books I'd read anything my sisters had lying around. My youngest sister was too young then to be interested in many of my library books, but my first younger sister often read the same ones that I did. And on at least one occasion she stole my library card when she couldn't find her own -- I found out when I got an overdue notice for a book I'd never heard of!

I talked to my mom on the phone tonight and found out that our family habit of sharing library books lives on. She's currently reading a book my sister checked out.

Jennifer Gile said...

My mom would take my brother and I to the Janesville Public Library every week or two. I remember we could pick out whatever and however many we wanted. As I got older, my mom and I shared many of our checkouts. One thing I remember we had was a "book bin" right by the front door. The only rule when it came to library books was that as long as we had some checked out, when we weren't reading them they had to be in this designated box, so as not to lose any. It definitely helped keep late fees down! (I should probably construct my own "book bin" now!)

Jennifer Gile said...

My mom would take my brother and I to the Janesville Public Library every week or two. I remember we could pick out whatever and however many we wanted. As I got older, my mom and I shared many of our checkouts. One thing I remember we had was a "book bin" right by the front door. The only rule when it came to library books was that as long as we had some checked out, when we weren't reading them they had to be in this designated box, so as not to lose any. It definitely helped keep late fees down! (I should probably construct my own "book bin" now!)

Katie Hanson said...

I recall going to the public library and checking out stacks of books as a child--I don't remember specifically how often we went, but it was enough to allow me to go to storyhours. My mother later got a job at the public library (and still works there), so I eventually ended up at the library nearly everyday. My mother always had literal piles of library books lying around the house, which I would occasionally pick through to find something interesting. But for the vast majority of the time, I picked out all my own books, even when I was little.

One thing that I just thought about in regards to the findings Pawley brings up is how library use was impacted by gender. I know just in my own family, I never saw my father using the library and rarely reading library books (he reads mostly magazines, newspapers and books that he purchases). Maybe it's in response to the fact that all the women in the family are such heavy readers, but it's very much in contrast to my mother's library use and reading habits.

Jennifer Gile said...

Seeing Katie's post reminded me that it was exactly the same in my family. My dad is/was constantly reading various newspapers and periodicals, but I have never, ever seen the man with a book! Quite the contrast with me and my mother, who read books constantly...

Kristin said...

I have a similar experience to Katie and Jennifer. I've rarely seen my father reading books. He reads the newspaper daily. I've seen him read various sports and science based periodicals, but not books. He also uses the internet rarely. In contrast, I can't remember a time when my mother wasn't in the middle of a book. She also reads newspapers, various magazines, websites, and BBSes.

We generally didn't share library materials because trips to the library were nonexistent. Our local branch wasn't built until I was in middle school. I remember watching it go up. Instead of using the local library, my extended family purchased and shared books - usually paperbacks. My mother, grandmother, and aunts tended to have similar taste in books, especially novels.

Deanna Olson said...

I remember browsing at the local library and finding so many insteresting books to read that by the end of the rows I would have my arms full. I would check out so many books that my mom decided that it wouldn't be fair to all the other kids who came to the library and couldn't find the most popular book so she gave me her own limit of 10 books per visit.

Emily Schearer said...

My mom usually took us to the library. When I was younger I remember going to Central in Milwaukee almost every week. We checked out so many books that we also had "book bin" system (although ours was more of a bag than a bin). I don't think Central ever charged overdue fees for children's books, and I don't remember there ever being a limit to the number of books we could check out. If there was a limit it must have been large enough that I never felt restricted by it, and never even noticed it.

Katie K said...

In what seems like direct contrast to everything that's been said, my father is a book reader (although many of those are books on tape) and my mother rarely reads at all. Perhaps I'm oversimplifying this but my father grew up on a farm in a very rural area and except for his brothers and sisters, there weren't many children around. My mother lived in the city and spent almost all of her time playing with the kids in the neighborhood. Both of them rarely talk about their experiences with libaries, but I have to wonder if their different childhood experiences play a part in their reading tendencies now.

Laura Elizabeth said...

Every member of my family is an avid reader, but no one besides myself really go to the public library in my town. They just don't have a good or growing selection of books my dad and I read and my mom has read many of the romantic authors they provide.

It is quite common for us to purchase a book right when it comes on the shelves (Harry Potter books, for example) and allow it to pass hands from me (the fastest of all readers in my family) to my mom (second fastest) to my dad, and then to my sister in Stoughton.

SarahStumpf said...

I remember always going to the library as a family when I was younger, however what interests me in the book is that families KEPT going to the library together even as children grew old enough to go there by themselves. I remember going to the library and getting the stacks of books taller then me with my parents as a child, but at some point (around middle school), they just stopped taking me. If I wanted to go, I had to ask them or else find a way to get there myself.

Oddly enough, my parents and my brother were never big readers. I think between my parents, they owned 5 books (not counting a set of 1950's encyclopedias). We most definately did not share books in my family since I was the only one who really needed them.

Heather said...

Like many others have said, my mom was an avid reader, my dad...not so much. Mom would take my little sister and me on a walk down to the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire... where I ended up working as a teenager and college student. I too, could get whatever I wanted, but I would often go to the familiar books (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Chris Van Allsburg books, Arthur books (back when he was actually an aardvark) in addition to new ones. As cliche as it sounds, I honestly feel like those trips to the library made a difference... in more ways than one... not only do I love reading, but it became a sort of calling, as many of you may know...

Lia said...

I, too, echo some of the comments made here. Being a nerdy little bookworm as a young child, a great evening for me was going to the library and getting a stack of books, coming home to a pizza and lots of reading. My mother, younger sister, and I made regular trips to the local library. My father didn't come with us, but he did have several news and political magazines, newspapers and an office with book shelves filled with books lining all the walls. My parents also bought magazine subscriptions for my sister and me individually and for the family. As a family, we read a lot, both for leisure and news/information, and most of the family were considered regulars at the library branch in our neighborhood.

Gillian D. said...

I was practically raised at our public library. My father read to my brother and I nightly and we went through a great number of series. We also had subscriptions to various magazines for both children (Highlights, Ranger Rick, Boys Life, American Girl) and adults (Time, National Geographic).

My father would always read the newspaper after dinner.

Molly said...

My own expereince is both similar and different to those described here. My family also made weekly or biweekly trips to the library and my parents still do. My sister and I would simply go with the parent that happened to be going. Both my mother and father are avid readers and library users and they do pick out books for each other on occasion and often read books the other has check out.

Kacie said...

First I would like to give a shout out to Heather who went to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire because that is also the library I went to! I especially remember going on days when this man named Rob Reid was in the children's area and he would get all of the kids to sit around and he would read us stories and sing songs and just be extremely animated. It was a great time. However, as I got older, I didn't go to the library unless I need some sort of research material. I honestly cannot remember a time after middle school when I went to check books out from the public library simply for reading pleasure. I would usually use the school library or go to the bookstore and buy what I was looking for.

tbuleza said...

Neither of my parents where enthusiastic readers when I was younger but we would visit the local public library every week because they were determined to have me do as they said not as they did. I would read several books a week and write up little summaries; the library often had contests with prizes over which child could read the most books. While that practice did allow me to became proficient in speed reading I can’t say that I ever got much from the experience except a lot of stickers, pencils, colored paper, and books.

potter said...

I grew up overseas so the only English language Libraries were in the school and the American Embassy Recreation Center, so I went almost every weekday to the school library either to just sit and read or for a class related reason. Unless you could convince the librarian otherwise each patron was allowed to check out 5 books. During the summertime, you had to get a special card in order to check out books and since we lived within walking distance of the the school my younger brother and I would normally be allowed to go the library once a week. The Embassy library was a special treat as you could swap books there and keep them. My family only went there occasionally. We also had a huge number or books at home covering just about every subject, so reading way a big part of my growing up.