In this hard-scrabble economy, in which car companies sputter and stall, all but avoiding that permanent shift into Park, and each day sees another newspaper considering whether to fold (and not in the bendy way), it's nice to revisit the free things in life.
That's why we took a trip to a nearby library. I had driven past the Wilshire Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library several times but had never gone in. (Our go-to library, the Fairfax Branch, next to Pan Pacific Park, was always our default book stop.) But yesterday, I felt the urge to investigate.
In the middle of the afternoon, the place was mostly empty, save for that random guy typing furiously on his laptop at a nearby table. I guess it's like Starbucks without the coffee or the thousand other screenwriters.
The emptiness seemed like an open invitation for my child to relinquish all volume control. We're still trying to teach CC the difference between indoor and outdoor voices, and that screaming isn't always appreciated -- particularly in places best known for "shushing."
It was hit and miss.
Stuffed animals lined the tops of bookshelves in the children's section, and CC was determined to take down (or, rather, have me take down) each one. She began placing random horses and bears in mini chairs in some sort of Toys R Us meets the Algonquin Round Table style.
We stayed for a while, read some books and found an interesting local one, "Good Night Los Angeles." It was fun to think that CC had visited nearly all of the attractions it described. But we eventually had to book it, as patient, quiet library time for a 2-year-old is kinda limited.
What I also found out -- when I had to go back for her beloved blanket -- was that this branch offers Preschool Storytime, with songs as well as stories, from 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. on Wednesdays, May 20 and 27.
Now that I'm home, and that's a feasible option, it's nice to know it's available for the small price of the ride itself.
So check out your local Los Angeles Public Library branch. Who knows what else you're missing.