Reading is a lifelong recreation. Unlike other forms of recreation it begins in infancy and can enrich our lives until death.  Prof. A. C. Grayling has said, “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” How true; and that adventure begins at an early age.

Aimee, age 11 month, loves books. Her mom knows this because when she sits down to read to her every night, she waves her arms excitedly. Her favorite page of “Goodnight Moon” shows a cow jumping over the moon. She squeals and reaches for the book every time she sees it.

Caleb, age 14 months, comes into our baby program called Babygarten with a smile on his face.  He knows what to do when we begin our first action rhyme and claps with enthusiasm when we finish the first round. He sits on his mom’s lap and enjoys the contact he has with her as they rock together and clap their hands to the rhythm of the verse. Just visit our library some Tuesday to watch the faces of 3-5 year old children as they listen to the stories and repeat action rhymes or songs.

It doesn’t stop there, with book clubs for school age children and adults the adventure of reading continues. Reading can bring relaxation, information, humor, drama, adventure and inspiration, all in the comfort of your very favorite chair

For many years reading was limited to just books. Today, we have the Internet information, hosted on thousands of websites. We have books online and e-book readers that make reading materials accessible anywhere. The web, our new storehouse of information, is just a click away. But this has not stolen the magic of reading books, the sound of their pages fluttering, their smell… you can curl up with a book anywhere, anytime.  At the Sioux Center Public Library you have a choice of reading materials; books on CD, downloadable books to your e-book reader and we have thousands of books to pick up and enjoy.

Today we have the privilege of delivering books to homebound elderly patrons who enjoy up to 15-20 books a month. They understand the importance and enjoyment of lifelong reading.

To end I want to share with you one of my greatest joys. Every week a wonderful (dare I tell you?) 90 year old woman visits our library to wash the covers of well-loved children books. She says she does it because she enjoys reading the children’s books, but I know she understands the importance of a book in the hands of a person of any age. She blesses me as she enables us to place books safely into the hands of hundreds of children.