Bring Your Own Baby Book Club
Where: Children’s Library (down the steps in the Central Library), 350 West Georgia Street (map). The meeting is in the Harvey Southam Room.
What: Monita and I have been part of this awesome book club since it began in September. It was one of the library programs that saved my sanity when I moved to Vancouver as a stay at home mom this past summer. Moms with kids under two are invited to discuss a book (for adults) in a baby-friendly setting. A lovely pristine copy of the book is provided by the library and we meet once a month to discuss the novel in as much detail as the group desires. Some of our discussions have focused on plot details and the believability of the story. Other novels have struck a chord with our varying impressions of motherhood. Occasionally we veer off track and end up discussing other things entirely. The librarians who facilitate the book club strike a nice balance in terms of giving us background information, bringing up interesting discussion questions and allowing us to head off on a tangent. The Harvey Southam Room, where the book club takes place, is a friendly circular room set apart from the rest of the Children’s Library. At each meeting so far, we’ve set the babes/toddlers in the middle of the circle with a few books or toys and sat in a circle around them either on chairs or on the floor. It’s fine to be late or leave early, perfectly acceptable to pop out to change a diaper, herd your toddler back into the room, or give your kid a snack if they need one. If you haven’t finished the book or just feel like listening instead of contributing to the conversation, we’re a very forgiving audience.
The space limit for the club is 20 parents, but during the fall session we rarely had more than about 8, so odds are good that if you just show up at the first meeting, we’ll have room for you! The first book we’re discussing, On the Island, was a very light read so it would be easy to just come to the first meeting on Tuesday Jan 15th and join in after a quick recap of the plot even if you haven’t read the book. I anticipate that we’ll be discussing themes rather than specific plot points for this one.
The reading list for the next few months includes:
- Jan 15 – On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
- Feb 12 – Please Look After Mom by Kyong-Suk Sin
- Mar 12 – State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
- Apr 9 – American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
For more information, you can also contact the VPL Popular Reading Library at 604-331-3691.
If you like reading, I also have been attending the Pandora’s Collective Book Club, which takes place at Britannia Library (1661 Napier at Commercial Dr. (map)) on the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:30pm. All the books (fiction and non-fiction) that we’ve read so far have been excellent, as has been the discussion. I brought Monita with me twice and the group was very supportive about having a babe in their midst. You will need to find and read the selected book on your own for this event, but all are available in the library system with a little pre-planning on your part.
The Human Library Event
Where: Level 3, Central Library, 350 West Georgia St. (map)
What: Although not an event specifically for kids, I wrote about this unique roving “library” as a post earlier this week on how to teach your children to embrace diversity. Innovative, inexpensive to run and with the aim of increasing tolerance throughout the world, the Human Library has a set of “living books” with titles like “Refugee”, “Drag Queen”, “Homeless” or “Facially Disfigured”. The overall list of titles is impressive, with many interesting titles set for the Vancouver edition. When you take out a “book”, you’re connected to a person who has volunteered to represent that group. You sit together in the library. You talk. Hopefully, you both come away from the experience with a little more understanding than when you started.
Weekly Programs for kids under 5 at the Children’s Library
In addition to special programs like the ones above, the Central library hosts half-hour storytimes in the Children’s library downstairs, which include songs, rhymes and simple stories, all at age-appropriate levels. Although most branches have a babytime or family storytime, the Children’s library has a large variety, allowing you to pick and choose when you’d like to venture downtown. There is also a nice play area for kids under 5 next to the windows at the back with blocks, stuffed animals and, of course, board books. The pop-up book selection (on a separate shelf on the far right of the room) is particularly cool, but sadly, pop-up books have proven terrifying to my little girl thus far!
- Big Babytime (12-24 mth) Mon 10:30 – 11:00am
- Little Babytime (0-12 mnth) Mon 11:30 – 12:00pm
- Let’s Sing! – Wed 3:30 – 4:00pm
- Pyjama Storytime – Wed 6:30 – 7:00pm
- Toddlertime (2-3 yrs) – Thurs 10:30 – 11:00am
- Preschool Storytime – Fri 10:30 – 11:00 am
- Family Storytime – Sun 3:00 – 3:30 pm
I took Monita to “Let’s Sing!” one Wednesday and was impressed with the performance skills of the librarian capable of leading a chaotic mob of kids with only his guitar and good cheer. The repertoire of kids’ songs was excellent, but space is limited and these events are popular. Come early if you can to grab a seat or lay claim to a space on the carpet. Shortly after the program began it was standing room only!
Also continuing this week:
- Free Family Movie Night: Fridays from 6:15 – 8:15pm at Kensington Community Centre, 5175 Dumfries Street (map)
- Man in the Moon: A free library program for Dads/Uncles/Grandpas/all male caregivers and babes 0 – 18 months (see last week’s post for more details including times and locations)
- Winter Farmer’s Market: Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm at 30th and Ontario Street in the East Parking lot and Plaza of Nat Bailey Stadium (map) (See my post from early January for more details)