Do you spend most of your time at the library picking over lackluster library books and trying to make your children choose something, anything, of quality to read? Do you want to let them get whatever delights them, but then get home to find they’ve chosen books with lots of glitter and bad attitudes, or rude drivel? Does going to the library feel like a battle against “junk food” that you’re tired of fighting? After all, at least they’re reading, right?
There’s a better way, and it’s a Living Library.
WHAT: Loft & Field’s Living Book Library is the personal collection of Stephanie Lewis, who loves to see living books grow lasting big ideas in the minds of their readers. Carefully curated, she hopes that every book here is an example of a truly living book. There are more than 7,300 books, art portfolios, educational games or math manipulatives available to borrow.
WHERE: Loft & Field Farm and Online Catalog
WHEN: The library is open most Fridays, September through May, 12:00pm-3:00pm, see calendar for specific dates.
BONUS: When you sign up for any local class, your family automatically gets a Loft & Field Membership. Memberships include access to the Living Books Library, parent support, early sign-ups, and more. They will expire June 15th, 2024. If you’d like the benefits of membership without taking local classes, we have a “Membership Only” option on our Enroll page. Read more about the many benefits of a Loft & Field membership here.
Loft & Field Membership Only$39.00
What is a Living Books Library?
Imagine a haven of beautiful books. There are old and new stories, but every one is enjoyable and well-written. They are from diverse viewpoints, but every one is wise. The authors are experts in their field, and each write with infectious passion. You don’t have to sift through brightly-colored trash. Nothing panders to lazy appetites or talks down to youth. Every book feeds imaginations, intelligence, and hearts.
That is a Living Library.
I (Stephanie) was frustrated every time I went to the library. It was impossible to find books that my children could learn from. Most non-fiction books were dry and tedious, the stale bread of literature. Too many fiction books were flashy colors with saccharine contents. I wanted my children to be nourished when they read. I wanted to be able to look at a wall of books and say, “Every book on this shelf is good for your soul.” And I wanted to be able to take all the time I needed to savor a book without being fined.
What started as my own personal collection has expanded to a collection of thousands of books on dozens of topics. They are books written by experts so passionate about their subjects that they dedicated their lives to them. They are organized by topic or time period, with options for every age level. They are living. Nourishing. Good for the soul. Books that will inform, inspire, and challenge your children. Books that they will keep under their pillows. Books they will take everywhere. Books they will read over and over again.
I invite you to enter my library and feast!
Please Read Before You Check Out Books
Our library is the personal collection of Stephanie Lewis, who loves to see living books grow lasting big ideas in the minds of their readers. Carefully curated, she hopes that every book here is an example of a truly living book. We ask that you follow these rules to help us care for our books and preserve them for others to enjoy:
- Tours – Please get a library tour from a Loft & Field staff member your first time here. Our library is unique, so you may need some initial help to navigate our resources.
- No Due Dates – The only official due date for books is at the end of the year, June 15th, 2024. This means you could check out a book and keep it for the whole school year. We ask that you use an honor system, however, and faithfully return books that are no longer being used so other families can enjoy them. We may contact you if another member requests a book to see if it can be returned soon.
- No Checkout Limits – We do not have limits on how many books you take out, but we do ask that you only check out materials that you are actively using. We have the right to add limits at any time without explanation.
- Replace Damaged/Lost Books – While we don’t charge late fees like most libraries, you will be expected to replace books or materials that are damaged or lost.
- Art Prints – We have an extensive collection of laminated art prints by a variety of artists. We also have clips and 3M wall strips for you to take so you can make space for rotating the artwork you bring into your home. We recommend “living” with a new work of art each month and allowing kids to choose new artists to enjoy.
- Math & Science Manipulatives – We have a wide variety of manipulative sets to help your children learn math and science. Use these to make learning a hands-on experience.
- Board Games & Puzzles – All of our board games are available for checkout as well. We just ask that you take extra care to make sure they stay clean and all the parts are returned.
- Book Care – Treat books carefully. They need to be kept in a safe place in your home. Please do not take them near places where they could be damaged such as a pool, a campfire, or a bathroom counter.
- “Special” Books – Books loaned in protective bags must be kept especially safe and brought back in the same bag and in the same condition.
- Book Requests – As a member, you can make a request to Stephanie Lewis if there is a particular book or resource you would like to see added to the library. This does not guarantee that she will buy it, but she might (and usually does)!
- Online Catalog – You can view all of our books on our website at https://librarycat.org/lib/loftandfield. We have worked hard to categorize and add tags to books so it would be easier for you to find what you’re looking for.
- Online Holds – Members will receive a library card and an online pin number. You can make hold requests from your account. When books become available, we will check them out to you and place them in your family’s bag on a hook in the main classroom. Hold books can be picked up on Fridays or by appointment.
- Hours – Please check our calendar to see when the library is open. If you must come at another time, please make an appointment in advance with Stephanie or Rebecca.
- Borrowing is a privilege that can be revoked by Loft & Field for failure to follow these rules.
How to Browse Our Library
Our library is organized by category. Look at our library guide below to see what categories of books we have and where you can find each of them. It’s also good to use this as a list for yourself or with your children. Can you read 1 book from each category? Or can you read 1 book from each sub-category? Challenge your kids to read from all parts fo the library.
“For the children? They must grow up upon the best . . . There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry DeFoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature–that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.”
“Our business is to give him mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential. Naturally, each of us possesses this mind-stuff only in limited measure, but we know where to procure it; for the best thought the world possesses is stored in books; we must open books to children, the best books; our own concern is abundant provision and orderly serving.”
-Charlotte Mason (vol.2, p.263 and vol.6, p.26)