The Bookmark: Finding the perfect gift


By JIMMY BASS, Special to The Paper

The Christmas season has come and gone with hopefully everyone getting that coveted gift, the one they have dreamed about the whole year.

Parents frantically fought the supply chain monster in hopes of finding “it,” the gift that made this Christmas perfect. As a parent (and grandparent), I have fought these battles even when the supply chain was zipping along. And, I am all for the perfect gift for your little or bigger bundle of joy.

But, if you are interested in something that will be around probably longer than Grandma’s fruit cake, please allow me to recommend a gift. 

I recently was looking at pictures of past graduations for our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. This is an awesome, FREE program we offer at all libraries where young children can read (with the aid of family, teachers, etc.) books with the hope of being recognized and awarded at one of our fantastic graduation parties (there are gifts!). I have seen some wonderful sights in my life but one of my favorites is seeing a roomful of children with graduation caps sitting with their families as we announce their name. The light from all the smiles in the room is truly dazzling and warm.  

Besides a cute photo op, there is one thing that really make me excited about the gift I am about to tell you about. If you have children or grandchildren, all of them can take advantage of 1000 Books. But it is not a requirement to get the real gift nor do you have to be a child to get it … it is free to all. It is the gift of literacy, with a shelf life that runs as long as you do and there is no cap on how much you want of it. Look … I can cite statistic after statistic about children and the positive effect of reading (better school scores, higher college acceptance, stronger in science and math) but for children it is fun! It is also a family event, a parent or sibling or grandparent can join in the excitement of seeing the sparkle in the eye of a happy reader. 

As for adults who claim that they do not read, find something they are interested in and gift them a book about it. It can even be an audio book. There is also a place called the library where these books, audios, eBooks, etc. are available for all and they are FREE. How many times do you read an article about Christmas gifts and the word FREE is mentioned twice (now thrice)??? And, the library is not just open at Christmas, this is a year-long gift. As Cousin Eddie so eloquently put it in Christmas Vacation, it is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. 

We are overloaded with information these days and it seems to me that nobody can sit still for longer than 10 minutes. Is it Facebook or Twitter or Politics??? I do not know but I can tell you that there is something very peaceful about relaxing with a good mystery, biography, historical novel, children’s book with your child or whatever you would like to read. Beginning now with the new year, let’s make 2023 the year of calm, peace, and reading to oneself and to others. I guarantee it will get you on the good list!

Jimmy Bass is director of the Coweta Public Library System. He also plays a mean guitar and sings at local venues.

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