Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ten Years of Living Books

It has been ten years since Emily and I opened the front door of our home to let 11 families in to borrow books. The families have multiplied, and the books have multiplied, and we have moved from that home to three other locations with its growth.

But the work goes on. Week after week, year after year, children are coming and the books are coming and going. It is a common human tendency to become accustomed to the ordinary way of life once the newness has worn off and to not take much notice of the wonders that happen every day. New always seems more fascinating than faithful, every day work.

This is not to say that Emily and I do not still thrill at some of the interactions and happenings here in this library, but the outreach of this library has expanded so much that it is easy to be preoccupied and miss the significance of how books are opening eyes and hearts of children right here in our hometown.

Last week on library day, we had a crowd descend as soon as the door was open and were hustling and bustling to unpack returning books and help moms and children find more. Later, it got a bit quieter. A single dad and his two little girls came to visit and I happened to be sitting down taking a break. This gave the five-year-old opportunity to animatedly tell me of the trauma at their house before they came. It seems that her three-year-old little sister was heartbroken. She couldn’t believe the month was up and she was going to have to part with the new favorite book of her life Journey Cake, Ho. “She just loves it and Papa has to read it every day, lots of times.” Emily sent her home with several other rhyming and fun stories. Little Sister has fallen in love with one story, but is going to find that the world holds many favorites for children like her, and our supply will continue to increase her attachment to stories.

Then, at the very end of the day, a mom and her 11-year-old daughter came in. It seems they were having a conversation on the drive here. They are quite a reading family, but the daughter is in a bit of a slump with books. Mom was probing to discover what kind of book would meet her need. “I like books that make me cry,” she confided. We smiled. It just so happens we have hundreds of books that will fill that bill. But was it strange that this same girl also told us she loved books that make her laugh?

Charlotte Mason said education is about knowledge touched with emotion. When our hearts get involved with a story, we don’t forget the lessons. Our attachment is automatic. It’s how God made us.

That is the reason we continue this work. These 18 thousand books for the children of nearly 50 families are sowing seeds of knowledge to grow on. When we opened our library, we could not think of a clever name and were a bit chagrined to call it by such a plain and general name.

Upon reflection, it strikes me that Living Books Library is absolutely the perfect name for what goes on here.

For the joy of reading,



  1. What beautiful reflections on your ministry, Liz. I'm thankful for all you do even if it's from afar. <3

    1. Amy,

      Maybe you can start thinking about opening your own library?

      It never hurts to dream--and you have a new house...