I don't remember the name of the story or who wrote it. (This guy is a librarian?) But it was a science fiction yarn about people who could travel in time, all by themselves, without any machinery. This ability was a rare but persistent human mutation, like being born with six fingers on one hand.
Most of these time travelers, when they became adults, eventually went back to the period when they were children. Their purpose was to teach themselves to master their gift at the earliest possible age.
The library has many friends. These friends perform two important functions for us. First, they aid in recruitment. They talk up the library, drag their neighbors along with them, and in general increase our visibility to the community.
Second, they improve the library. Like our library staff, our friends are creative people, with lots of good ideas about new services, or new twists on old ones. Let me give you an example.
A lot of people lately have been researching and writing about the human brain.
Much of this research focuses on childhood brain development.
"At birth a baby's brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way," according to an article in the February 3, 1997 issue of Time. And according to an article in the March 10, 1997 issue of U.S. News & World Report, "... the brain reaches 80 percent of its full development by a child's first birthday."
My wife and I allow Perry, our 3 year old son, to pick out his own clothes every day. But we don't just open a drawer and let him grab something. We set two choices out for him: two shirts, two pairs of pants, two colors of socks. This is the way, it seems to us, to begin to develop the sort of child who isn't afraid to make decisions. (Based on data to date, I don't think this will be a problem for my boy. Patience: that might be a problem.)