Turning young children on to the public library is one of the best ways to help develop a lifelong reading habit. Some reminders:
* Begin with the librarian. Many libraries have a children's librarian whose main function is to keep up with children's literature. At the very least each library will have someone who can show you and your child how books are arranged in the children's section.
* Check the services provided by your neighborhood library. Many libraries have story hours for preschoolers. This experience can be a delightful introduction to both the library and some fine children's literature.
* Start with your child's interests and allow him or her to select the most appealing book. Books are more likely to be read and enjoyed when children have a strong voice in their selection.
* Children, like adults, enjoy books by a favorite author. If your child likes one book by Eric Carle or Maurice Sendak, chances are he or she will enjoy more of theirs.
* Children can't be "forced" to enjoy something. They shouldn't have to read every book they select from cover to cover, nor should they be forced to listen to a story when they would prefer to do something else.
* Children adopt many attitudes of their parents and will learn to enjoy libraries and books if you show them that you enjoy them.
* The stereotypical Marion the Librarian no longer exists -- if she ever did -- and the children's section of the public library can be fun.