Yes, libraries are great... and free. All children should know the pleasure of having their own library card and borrowing books. But there is a joy in owning a book, in writing your name in it, in underlining a favorite passage, or in keeping it in pristine condition. Owning a book is owning magic, the magic of words and the power of storytelling.
Yes, those Scholastic Book Fairs are a lot of fun, if you have money. Unfortunately, they are soul-crushing if you don't. Same with those monthly book order forms. It always broke my heart when my children came home with books circled and I couldn't buy them. I dreaded the book fairs when I knew they would be sitting on the sidelines. They watched as other children walked away with piles of books, their own hands empty. I wish there were Scholastic Scholarships for those kid who were left out, during book fairs. There really should be.
Now through July 12th, you can help support Reading is Fundamental, just by shopping at Macy's. Congress cut the funding for this program in 2011 and they need ongoing financial support to keep putting books in the hands of children who need them. Reading for pleasure increases a child's ability to read critically and to ultimately think critically. Reading well is also a first step to learning well and succeeding in life. So, please, as you consider where to offer your financial support, include RIF.