A Day at The Library

Rachel Reading a Book



Patrick Kindergarten graduation







Years ago when my son was moving from kindergarten to the first grade there was a Summer Reading Program. The program covered all students in St. Louis, Missouri. If a student read five books over the summer, the reader received a certificate for an ice cream cone from the St. Louis Public Library. The fast food chain, McDonald’s, sponsored the program.

That summer my son, Pat, was six years of age. Even at six his bright mind was quick and always looking to find the things that would benefit him. Simply reading five books to acquire an ice cream cone was easy. Pat had been in tow with me for years going to the local branch library. That year on summer vacation my son attained his first library card.

My daughter, Rachel, was two years old and she, too, wanted free ice cream cones. So while Pat was looking for books, I told Rachel she could get books on my card. She had also learned to count. Five books was a number for her to count.

Once, sometimes twice per week, the three of us were at the library returning books and getting another certificate.

Rachel would sit on my lap and we read each book together. She learned her alphabet and was sounding out words over that summer.

While at the library returning books, Rachel asked in her soft, sweet voice, “Daddy, when can I get my own “libraby” card?”

The ladies working at the library heard her question and told her she had to sign her name. That was all that was needed.

Those two bright, brown eyes looked to me for the answer. I asked the younger of the two ladies for a sheet of paper, then we sat at a table. Starting with large block letters, we reduced the size each time until she wrote the letters. Pat stopped looking for new books to read and was cheering Rachel on. Soon I noticed the crowd of adults and other children watching.

Finally Rachel signed her name twice, the same size, to go on the back of the “libraby” card.

It was time.

I filled out the card, the one that told the librarians where the book that was not returned was located.

Rachel took the pen from the librarian and signed her name in the block letters. When she finished, it seemed Rachel had drawn a crowd – everyone applauded her!

My daughter was not just happy but proud of herself.

Now she was able to earn her ice cream cones on her own and Pat was every bit as proud of her.

A few decades later, Pat is Director of Informational Technology for a school district. He is currently working on his PhD and Rachel has a Bachelor’s degree as a Geological Engineer. All from reading at a local branch library.

One other thing, I have always been proud of both!

Copyright © 2013 Patrick Jones, All Rights Reserved.

16 thoughts on “A Day at The Library

  1. What a beautiful story Patrick – lessons taught with tender care, your children carry with them for a lifetime to pass along one day. Libraries are a place where fantasy’s and life take on new forms through the magic of words and dreams. Love it ~


  2. I am a huge fan of the library and always have been, from the time my mother took me as a child to now, when I am taking her. 🙂


  3. That’s great Patrick, we run a national summer reading challenge every year in our libraries in the UK – they don’t get an ice cream cone, but stickers and other little rewards – oh and you can join from the moment you’re born – our youngest member was about 13 hours old when she joined the library 🙂


  4. Kudos to McDonalds and the St. Louis Public Library for sponsoring the contest, to you for encouraging your children, and to them for following through with the many opportunities they were given.


    • I don’t know if the promotion by McDonald’s still exists. It was a wonderful incentive to get kids to read. But I have to tell you there is a downside. I gained 8 lbs over that summer!! Thanks for your comment…Pat

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very much correct. I have always encouraged my children to never quit. The only could stop them, was them. My son is working on a doctorate and my daughter is a geological engineer. And now they as parents are teaching their children that there is no limit to what they can accomplish. I’ve always been proud of my children and they continue to make me proud to this day. My grandchildren are no different. Thank you for your thoughts…Pat

      Liked by 1 person

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