Aw! Summer reading programs at the local library… a tradition around these parts (as in the Julius’ family household). The fact that I drag my kiddo from library system to library system has nothing to do with the fact that I’m working my way towards a library sciences degree. Well, not entirely anyway.

As soon as The Boy got old enough, I’d wager to say right before his first birthday, I took him to his first library story time. Picture this.

I pulled out my handy list of Fort Stewart, GA on-post numbers. I found the library. I called them and annotated the next available story time. I put the kiddo in the car and headed out to the library. I walk through the door expecting a room bustling with activity. I was greeted by silence. Not so much because everyone was super good at their whispering voice, but more so because the place was empty.

The librarian, bless her heart, must have seen the disconcerted look on my face, I was after all excited about Brooks’ first ever story time, because she assured me that she would still do her thing and that I could sit with The Boy and she would start.

Afterwards we played on the playset adjacent to the library and had some snacks. And so began our love affair with story time. I’m glad I didn’t give up on the whole thing. And I’ll admit, some library children’s program’s are much better run and/or better funded than others. But the thing is that our libraries are such rich resources and it’s a shame when we don’t take advantage of all they have to offer.

Some of my fondest memories when I was little was piling my arms full of books and taking them home to read only so I could come back in a few more days to repeat the process.

I will admit, I have not been a huge fan of the Casey Memorial Library story time. And because we are so blessed to have four other libraries nearby I can be choosy. But this year the on-post library kicked off it’s summer reading program first, so I decided to try it out, just to see if they had their A game on. I wasn’t disappointed.

First and foremost, the place was packed. I have NEVER seen the Casey Library so packed for any of their kids programs, including their HUGE shindig for Fire Safety in October each year (by the way, it’s a must for those in the local area). There was no place left to sit or stand and the program hadn’t even started yet. I was pretty excited about that.

The summer reading program for the DOD (Department of Defense) libraries is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Check out the link to sign up and log your books/hours here:

As a special guest they had the King from the Medieval Times in Dallas, TX present some pretty cool facts about the middle ages, knights in particular, and the particulars of who could and could not read during “his” time period. I love it when learning and fun mix! Afterwards one of his knights demonstrated some pretty cool moves with his sword. They topped off the event with snacks, drinks, and a showing of The Sword in the Stone.

I was pretty impressed with the whole event. I haven’t been too impressed before but I was happily surprised today. We signed up for the reading program and even got a chance to speak to the King himself and pose for a photo with his knight.

The rest of the libraries in the area have pretty neat summer reading programs lined up. We’ll sign up for all them. We always do. For those with little ones in the house I’d encourage you to check them out. They have a tendency to bring in some amazing guests, speakers, performers, etc. And it’s all free! I say, why not!

For those with teens I know some of the libraries have made a good effort to put into effect summer reading programs tailored especially for that age set.

Which brings me to my last point. It’s so important, whether or not you have kiddos, to never make yourself an island. And by that I mean that there are so many resources available to us in the Central Texas area, especially if we’re military, that there’s no reason why anyone of us should feel isolated, alone, or neglected. Although it takes an effort to meet others and get out there so that our families are involved in some pretty neat things, the rewards are astronomical. The biggest pay off, especially for those in the midst of a deployment, is that we’ll have happier families, have more energy (trust me on this one), and the deployment will whiz right by.

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset that there isn’t anything to do. There really is a whole lot to do, and a large majority, again for us military, is free. When I had my foot surgery staying at home really got to me after a while. And the thing is, and I know most of you may not believe this, I am a huge homebody at heart. But it does us so much good, mentally and physically, to get out of the house, to speak to others, and to get our children involved in different activities. It staves off depression. I promise. It just takes that first step, just trying something out once, that will have you wondering why you didn’t do it before.

Trust me, I know it’s easy for some of us to feel like we can do the whole “I’m an island thing.” Because we are so accustomed to doing things on our own, finding our own resources, problem solving for ourselves. But that same resiliency and grit can also lead us into complacency and depression.

It’s beautiful in Texas right now. I’ll be out soaking up the sunshine until my next Do-Nothing-Day 😉