Reading to My Children by
(354 Stories)

Prompted By Libraries

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David reads to 20 month old Rosa

I loved to read as a child and would often take trips to my local library, the Sherwood Forest branch of the Detroit Public Library, as well as my school library. I remember the first book I ever read there: “Elizabeth Enters” about the recently deceased sovereign. Even as a second grader, I enjoyed learning about the British monarchy.

So it is not surprising that I would instill a love of reading in my own children, providing them with lots of books around our home, both their own, and borrowed from the public library. We were lucky to have access to two wonderful libraries throughout the years.

Original Carnegie building in Edgartown

Information plaque in front of the Carnegie

Edgartown was fortunate to have one of the original Carnegie libraries and it was a great place to hang out on a rainy summer day, or borrow a video to entertain the kids. But the building was in downtown, historic Edgartown, with no parking, no room for expansion and old facilities. A huge fundraising effort allowed the library to move to the outskirts of central Edgartown with this original building restored and maintained as a sort of visitor center/museum by the Preservation Trust, highlighting the historic properties they own.

Front entrance of new Edgartown library

Back entrance, including play area; new Edgartown library

The new library is modern, welcoming from front and back (you can see the enclosed playground area, just inside the fence). There are rooms for public book readings, a great children’s area, and large stacks; quite an improvement over the old space.

Newton Public Library

Winnie the Pooh sculptures by Nancy Schön

Children’s Reading Room in Newton Public Library

Newton also has a fantastic library with ample parking (though it is across from City Hall, so the parking gets used by overflow visitors there, as well). Public sculptures adorn the lawn, in particular, this trio of Pooh figures by renown local artist Nancy Schön, who also did the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Public Garden. And the Children’s Reading Room is warm and welcoming. I frequently took out loads of books with my children here. I have a distinct memory of a nursery school teacher rolling her eyes when I proudly told her that I’d taken out 10 books for David. He loved them, but somehow she didn’t think that was appropriate for a four year old. I guess she’d think twice now, as Dr. Pfau (PhD in Computational Neuroscience, 2014, Columbia University) is much in demand at AI seminars all over the world.

Last month, my granddaughter Rosa’s daycare took her little group on its first field trip (the yellow vests are not a form of protest; they are easy identification of their group). Where did they go? To a library of course. Getting them off to a good start.

Rosa’s daycare on a field trip to a library

Does anyone remember the program “Reading is Fundamental”? It really is.


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Characterizations: well written


  1. Thanx Betsy for your library story, and love the photos!

    Of course Rosa is bilingual – she’ll be able to read both English and American books!

  2. Suzy says:

    Good for you, Betsy, for writing a new story for this repeated prompt. Dana, Laurie, and I just moved our old ones. Wonderful photos of both the Edgartown Library and the Newton Library. Would love to see those Winnie the Pooh statues done by the Make Way for Ducklings sculptor. Maybe next time I go to Cambridge when you are in Newton.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    I also thought the Pooh sculptures were great–thanks for the pictures! Your story reminds me of how valuable it is to have common areas to meet and learn for everyone. Carnegie is no great example as a rapacious businessman, but he certainly did a wonderful thing supporting all those public libraries. Congratulations on the community for raising funds for the Edgartown Library. If only libraries, schools, and the arts had more public support ongoing!

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      At least Carnegie used some of his robber baron money to better the community. We can be grateful for that, at least. Yes, the common areas in libraries are used for great purpose. I heard a Brandeis friend do a book reading in the Edgartown library this summer. She was so good that I bought her book!

  4. Jim Willis says:

    Your love of reading, developed at a young age in libraries, echoes my own. And then you turned around later and instilled that love in your children through reading to them. Wonderful!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    I love the picture of David reading to Rosa. Children’s libraries are wonderful places and parents who were read to as children read to their own. At least that’s how it went with my kids. One of my grandkids’ first words was booka-booka-booka. Delightful!

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