The next big thing: Libraries

LIBRARIANS across the country may be walking to work these days with more of a spring in their step than usual. Whisper it – well, librarians always do – but it looks like libraries are suddenly the place to be.

Pop diva Gwen Stefani decided to reveal her second son, Zuma James McGregor Rossdale, to the world for the first time on a trip to the Beverly Hills Public Library to get his first library card. (It's not known which book the two-month-old took out, though he is presumed to have picked something with a nice chewy cover.)

Which means that a visit to the library is now up there with the other must-haves for celebrity offspring – such as private jets, personal trainers and adopted siblings from developing countries. The library trip was clearly deemed as important as Zuma's other outing that week – to a party thrown in his honour by actress Kate Hudson, where he was introduced to a roll-call of A-list celebs that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Sacha Baron Cohen and his fiance Isla Fisher.

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So if it's good enough for Stefani's boy, surely it's time you took your child to the library. After all, 2008 is the National Year of Reading. True, your local library probably closed down a while ago now. Or if it's still open, it contains just one librarian, a few Catherine Cookson novels and a lot of leaflets for IT courses.

But it's good for children to learn to love books, and it's good for librarians to see people every now and then. Just tell your children to think of the people who work there as Wikipedia in human form, and stress that libraries are now known as 'idea stores' and are not boring, stuffy places at all. And that you will buy them some sweets on the way home if they will just put that Game Boy down for two seconds and pick up a book instead.