Summer Goal: Get a Library Card


I’ve had my library card, obtained at the Agoura Hills Library, since shortly after we moved here 6 years ago. I’ve been checking out books and movies for myself and the kids ever since. But this summer, my older son finally said the magic words: “How old do you have to be to get your own library card?”


Kyle, then in 2nd grade, interviewing the children’s librarian, Miss Grace.

Music to my ears. I’m a reader and a lifelong library lover. Hauling my kids to the Agoura and Westlake locations of the Los Angeles County Library system whether they wanted to go or not was self-serving, but I knew that it might rub off on them.

library books

Doing a project using library books instead of Google

The older boy naturally loves to read, and my younger son who is now 9 finally got the reading bug when I pulled him off video games and tablet use earlier this spring. He re-discovered Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series as a result. He would finish a volume, then request a trip to the library to get the next few titles. It’s the gateway book to reading for young boys. Hooray!


Naturally, once my son expressed curiosity about getting his own card, I was all for it. I had my husband take him in to apply. The answer to his question is that there is no minimum age. A child under 18 just has to have a parent or guardian sign his application.


The little brother went along for the ride and when they all returned, they both had library cards! In a way, it’s a little more complicated because now we have three accounts to keep track of, but I’m happy to deal with that in order to foster what I hope to be a lifelong love of libraries for them.


In fact, all three of us took out books and brought them on vacation, so when we returned we had $9.00 in fees among the three of us! But I don’t mind that a bit – I am happy to support this otherwise free public resource. Not only does the library offer books, movies, and even e-readers pre-loaded with over 100 book each, but it also holds free events for kids like Mad Science demonstrations and chess classes.


GET YOUR LIBRARY CARD: For more information, see the website of the LA County Library system:

Free Content Jackpot: the Local Library

I’m not sure when the light went off in my head – maybe it was when I realized I had purchased a book that I later decided I hated.  Why pay $16 or more for a paperback that sucks and then give it away or put it out in the front yard in a box marked “Free?”  You can get all the books you need – for free – at the library!

I grew up around the corner from the main branch of my hometown’s public library.  I practically lived there during the summers.  It’s not like the concept of a library is something new to me.  I guess I just got lazy.  Well now I’m a mom, and there are many things I’m lazy about, but spending less money is not one of those things.  Plus, bringing my kids to the library is a great way to a) kill time b) mess up someone else’s place instead of my house and c) teach them about books, responsibility, and public manners.

I have learned that I can’t look for books for myself when my boys are with me because they are still small and need my supervision, but never fear.  During the years when I was foolishly buying books at overpriced big box stores instead of using the library, the system miraculously modernized their functions and now I can simply go online, select the book I want, tell the library which location is convenient for me, and then soon I get an email that says “Ding!  Your book’s ready!”  And I just drive to the local branch and pick it up.  And if the book’s a stinker, well, some other sucker gets to check it out after I’m done.

Imagine my delight when I visited the Agoura Hills Public Library for the first time.  In a building that also houses the civic center and city hall, the library complex is a tasteful Craftsman-style bungalow.  A giant, sprawling bungalow.  The interior is calm and organized, with a spacious rotunda with tiny benches in the children’s section.  Several private conference rooms are available for use by reservation.  The staff is patient and kind, you know, like love.  And…there’s plenty of parking.  Ah, the suburbs.

[photo from City of Agoura Hills website]