Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Shallows ~ Giveaway tomorrow

Please don't think I've forgotten this book.  In between battling colds in the family and attending a wonderful worldview conference, I've been reading and researching and will get to it as soon as possible.

Remember to leave a comment under this post to be included in the drawing for The ShallowsI will post the winner here tomorrow around 4pm Eastern time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Special Blessings

One of the sweetest blessings of operating my library is getting to visit with the special children who come through my door.  Some bring flowers (usually picked from along my driveway.)  Others bring drawings which are hanging on my fridge and they all bring their glorious smiles and excitement for finding new treasures amongst the shelves.  One of my newest young patrons, 9-year-old Cara, chose to write about her first visit to the library for an English assigment.  I thought I'd share it with you.

My First Visit to Rogersville

Rogersville has many interesting places but the one we visited was the Children’s Legacy Library.  A living library is a library that is special because it collects old books.  As we were traveling there my mom and Mrs. Elizabeth reviewed the rules because some of the books have to be handled carefully.  Some of these books are no longer in print and cannot be replaced if damaged or lost.  I was excited and couldn’t wait to get there because I like books. 

I was amazed when we got there.  I didn’t know she lived on a farm.  We didn’t get to go into the main part of her home because the books are in her basement.  The librarian, Mrs. Robin Pack, reviewed the rules with us again to make sure we remembered them.  She also showed us where the different kinds of books are located.  And then I asked her for a particular series called The Happy Hollisters and I was thrilled because she had it!

We had to pay to borrow her books because she has to buy the books she collects.  Some of her books are expensive because they are old and out of print and hard to find.  I picked out twenty books to read.  Mrs. Robin had to type the books by name and author into the computer because she had not set up a scanning system yet.

After we visited the living library everyone was tired and hungry so we went to get lunch.  After lunch we walked around the block a little bit and then climbed back into the car and drove home.  I like Rogersville especially the living library, don’t you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book giveaway ~ The Shallows

Yesterday I introduced you to an important book by Nicholas Carr entitled The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.    Next week I will begin discussing this book in more detail.  I hope you'll join me.

In celebration of Children's Legacy Library's new blog and to attempt to raise awareness of this important issue, I will be giving away a copy of The Shallows on Monday, October 1!  To enter, you must leave a comment under this post only, telling why you use living books or how you are attempting to reduce your time using electronic media.  We will have the drawing on Monday, October 1 and I will post the winner here. 

In the meantime...why not read a book? 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Future of Reading

As a librarian, I am always interested in reading trends.  Ask almost anyone you come across what they’re reading and they’ll most likely give you a blank stare.  They will often give excuses such as lack of time or they don’t like to read.  But could it be that they’ve lost the ability?

There are many alarming statistics regarding the lack of reading in our culture.  They are readily available so I won’t list them here.  What I want to address is, “WHY?” 

Over the last few years I’ve been dismayed at the obsession with electronics in our culture.  Because we are farmers, we rarely go on vacation but were blessed to do so earlier this year.  Spending several days at large amusement parks was very enlightening…and disturbing.  I watched thousands of people, young and old, immersing themselves in shallow activities, having shallow conversations, and worst of all, rarely going more than a few minutes (or seconds) without being glued to some sort of screen.  Families were not having conversations over meals.  They were checking emails or texting on their phones or iPads.  They were surfing the Net while waiting in line for rides.

Now we all know the devastating effects this can have on relationships (except for our 300 best friends on Facebook.)  But could it be that it can have devastating effects on our brains?  Could it be that there are not only spiritual consequences to our habits, but physiological ones as well?

Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing a most profound and important book.  The Shallows:  What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr explains in fascinating detail what happens physically to our brains when we spend time online.  The results are very sobering so I hope you will visit again.

While you’re waiting, you might want to read the condensed version by Googling “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” 

Until next week…

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Signs of the times...

I’m old-fashioned.  Always have been.  I enjoy “old music, old books, old times, old friends.”  My life exhibits this love of the old paths.  I was a music major because I loved classical music.  We live a farming life.  I milk cows, butcher chickens, make my own butter.  I married my oldest and best friend.  And the books?  Well…

I’m not one to say there is no place for new things.  I do use a machine to milk my cows and make my butter.  And there are a few good “new” books out there.  By and large, however, the truths we treasure have fallen in the streets.

This reality hit me hard on a recent trip to Toys R Us.  My sons were shopping for a birthday gift for a friend.  While they mulled over the best building set, I perused the “early reader” section.  Of course, there were the usual popular cartoon characters featured, but one book caught my attention.  It was entitled Judy Moody and the Poop Picnic.  I picked it up and was sickened at what was being marketed to six year olds!  I bought the book and have since used it in my living books presentations of what is NOT an example!

One of my treasured volumes is called Five Years of Children’s Books.  In it is listed the best of children’s literature written between 1930-1935.  Below was the standard for children’s books during “the golden age of children’s literature.”

When you are writing for children, do not assume a style for the occasion.  Think your best and write your best.  Let the whole thing live; let there be plenty of breadth and power.

As for the values which we claim are strong and clear in children’s books, the first of these is a sense of God.  “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.”  A seeking after truth and beauty; a sense of wonder and reverence; the balance and proportion which humor gives:  these are values in terms of the spirit which shape the design and form for living. 


Charlotte Mason warned against filling a child’s mind with twaddle.  I believe that Miss Mason would be distressed at the poison being presented to children today.  It is my passion and prayer that, through the living Word of God and the books on my shelves, our children learn to love and seek after truth, beauty, wonder, and reverence…the old ways. 

Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. “
But they said, “We will not walk in it.”  Jer. 6:16

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why a private library?

Of all the questions/comments I get regarding my library, these are the most common...

"Why should I pay you to use your books when I can get them at the public library for free?"

"Why Robin, I didn't know you charged money for this library!  I thought you did it out of the goodness of your heart!"

These are (relatively) legitimate concerns.  My answers often depend on the condition of my back and my mood, but while I'm in a good one, I'll answer them here. 

Why a private library rather than public?   Contrary to what I always believed, public libraries do not contain all that is good and noble in literature. Librarians instead are instructed to offer what is current and popular.  Libraries today offer books filled with politically correct revisionism, Darwinism and pop culture.  Many of today's libraries are replacing bookshelves for computer screens.  In fact, in my small town library you'll find a large center area of computer terminals with the books being pushed to the margins.  An alarming number of the books it does contain, especially in the youth section, focus on the occult. When I began using living books in my homeschool, I was appalled at what we were finding in our local library.  In future posts I will address this culture shift, but suffice it to say, the treasured books in my "well-edited" library are rarely found in any public library.

What about the money?'s where we really get to the heart of the matter.  Why do I not offer my collection for free as a ministry?  Again, this is a cultural issue and Christian homeschool families are not exempt from its influence.  First of all, public libraries are not free.  And even if they were, is it worth the price we pay to expose our children to the depravity offered on most library shelves?  My family has invested tens of thousands of dollars in the best gems the "golden age of children's literature," as Michelle Miller calls it, has to offer.  These books, primarily written between 1920 and 1970, touch our lives in ways most modern books do not.   Michelle says this about children's books written during this golden age:

The wonderful earlier books were written when there was a more prevailing Judeo-Christian ethic in the country.  This affected literature—even if the author was not a professing Christian—in a profound way, because it sees the human as a spiritual being, and the author thus writes to a more important part of the reader.  He was trying to stir up, as C.S. Lewis, said “something noble in the heart of the reader.”

Hours upon hours have been spent buying books, shelving books, repairing books, recommending books, assembling bookcases, icing sore backs.  Our family believes the benefits are worth the sacrifice.

But couldn't we still minister more to families if we offered our library for free?  Honestly, the fact is, we really only value what we personally invest in.  The patrons who come through my doors receive so much more than wonderful books for their children to read.  They enjoy Christian fellowship and friendship for themselves and their children, a librarian who has first-hand knowledge of who their children are as persons and what interests them, support, and recommendations for life-changing books.  Not only are my patrons being ministered to, I am as well.  I love hearing the edifying conversations among patrons on library day.  I love to see children scattered over the floor with a book or discussing the best parts of their current favorite.  I love it when they burst through the door and say, "Mrs. Pack, this was the best book I've ever read!"  And as I watch Godly friendships blossoming and young lives being formed through living books, I am ministered to.  And I pray our nation and our world will be ministered to as these children rise up and proclaim the truth of God to a lost world.

Some things you just can't put a price on...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Children's Legacy Library ~ The History

When my oldest son was born 22 years ago, we had great plans for our little boy.  We spent long hours outdoors, playing games, and reading wonderful books.  Ping, Mike Mulligan, Peter Rabbit were all dear friends.  When this little boy began kindergarten, we were excited to learn more about the world around us.  I ordered our textbook/workbook curriculum and we set to work.  After six weeks, I realized there must be something else!  I remember thinking, "We're not doing this for the next thirteen years!!"

Somewhere I remembered reading about a new curriculum called Five in a Row.  I ordered it and we were delighted to find our old friends again!  This way of learning was so natural and enriching that we continued our learning with real living books.  I was dismayed at the books we were finding in our public library so I began collecting books in order to have these treasures on hand.

When my son was ten, I heard of a new history curriculum called TruthQuest History by Michelle Miller, owner of an incredible private lending library in Michigan, which combined biblical worldview study with living books.  After speaking with Michelle about my collection of books, she encouraged me to open a library of my own.  

Many life changes postponed our opening including the birth of another son and the adoption of third but we finally opened in June of 2008.  God has placed this vision in our hearts to share these books with the many children who enter our library.  

To God be the glory!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Children's Legacy Library, a private lending library, opened its doors in June 2008 providing area homeschoolers with over 7000 living books to enrich their children's education.  Now we have over 15,000 books and have recently expanded our space to make room for thousands more.  If you are a Christian homeschool family living in the East Tennessee area and would like more information about our library, please contact us.  We would love to serve you.