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Libraries and Bookbug


Bookbug is back, or at least a version of it. We have the book, the songs, the excited wee ones, and the puppets. Only the bairns are not allowed to touch any of them. We have masks, of course, we have. We don’t have the use of the plaide or as my English-speaking friends would say the parachute or lycra depending on what you use. I don’t make that difference between materials for our Gàidhlig sessions it is always plaide

I miss using the plaide. Whether it is blue and shiny or multi-coloured and round it is always loved by the bairns. It often brings the shy or reluctant parent singer into the ‘body of the kirk’.

Young children born during the virus are often not used to being in amongst other bairns of the same age. Toddlers have not had access to Pàrant agus Pàiste (parent and child groups). Parents themselves, therefore, have missed forming supportive relationships with other families who have children of a similar age.

Friendships often come about because people find themselves in similar positions and can relate to others. If these same people were to meet up at different times in their lives a natural connection may not happen.

We all have friends that do not hold quite the same believes we have. Perhaps they are not of the same religious or political persuasion, they may not share the same hobbies or even language. Often these particular friendships have simply come about because we were all knee-deep in nappies at the time or hadn’t slept for months on end.

However, we have watched together our children grow, we have witnessed their joy, wiped their tears while our friends wiped ours. The bond you have with other parents when your children are very young can last a lifetime.

Many young families have missed out on forming that bond. Especially first-time parents who did not already have friends with young children. Feeling isolated when your bairns are young is not a new thing. There is genuine harm being done to new families who haven’t had that chance to form these important connections with others due to lockdown. This lack of support and friendship may well follow them through the years.

If you are one of those parents and the thought of walking into a hall is too much, come along to a Bookbug session. Your local libraries are a great place to meet up and you are surrounded by BOOKS. Your wee ones are being introduced to the joys of a library. Free books to borrow and return. The first step to a love of reading in an environmentally friendly way. You don’t need to own a book to read it.

This may not be the best message for a writer who relies on readers to buy her book to make a living. However, like many things surrounding green issues and paying the rent, a choice has to be made.

Given the strain on family incomes buying books are a luxury many cannot afford. Libraries can help fill that void. You aren’t just stuck to what is available on the shelf either. You can order a book you would like to read. You can even order mine! You can ask the librarian to suggest something you may like in a different genre or even a different writer of the same genre.

Entering a library again was like getting access to a sweetie shop. To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed when I eventually got back in. I couldn’t decide on what books to take out for myself. So much choice. In the end, I grabbed three. One a translation of a French book, it is not the happiest story I have ever read but I will devour it quickly so I can get on and read the next one which has a much lighter subject.

I am now eagerly awaiting the new Gaelic Bookbug packs for babies and toddlers. Something else the library offers. New books to look at and decide how I present that to the children. What puppets can I use? How can I help them understand that concept? What songs would fit nicely with the subject matter? Since I can’t use the plaide what else can I do? And importantly, will anyone actually know the second verse of Brogan Lom this year?

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