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Watching a child with a book is witnessing the magic of discovery. It might be an infant fascinated by primary colors in a board book, a toddler enthralled with farm animals in a picture book, a preschooler giggling through Dr. Seuss' fanciful rhymes or an older child's visible pride in mastering a chapter book.
The importance of books and reading is indisputable. Many studies have found that children introduced to them at a young age are more likely to do well in school. Reading also is a portal to the imagination, not to mention the emotional benefits of parents and children snuggling up with a good book.
So any event encouraging children to explore and enjoy all that a public library offers, is just fine in our book, so to speak.
For a third year, the Waterford Public Library has scheduled Take a Child to the Library Day. In 2013 the day brought nearly 350 adults and children to the library. Many already were familiar with the library's resources and enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with familiar friends. Others were library newcomers.
Library staff anticipate this year's event on Feb. 1 is likely to draw a similar crowd, including infants and toddlers just discovering the wonderful world of books.
Of course, the contemporary library offers much more than books. The library is an important center of public technology for students. It also offers child-friendly audio books, videos, games, puzzles and crafts. Special programs at Waterford Library range from Lego building sessions to spark the imagination of engineers-to-be, to dance sessions to get children moving.
Still, books remain the library's heart and in books children open worlds of laughter, fantasy, mystery, sports, adventure, history and drama. Books introduce them to new friends, take them far from their hometown, or allow them to learn about the community just outside their own homes.
Any day can be a good library day, but Take a Child to the Library Day is a perfect event to spur discovery of all types. We congratulate the folks at Waterford Public Library for continuing this tradition and acknowledge the great public service libraries across our region continue to provide.