November 10, 2014

Two-year-old becomes an internet sensation thanks to her public library


A video showing Texas two-year-old Elizabeth Christensen naming the parts of the body has gone viral. She learned to identify the liver, lungs, intestines, brain, heart and stomach in an anatomy kit that she checked out of her local library.

As of this writing, the video has been watched 89,133 times. And because her parents checked the anatomy kit out of their local library in Plano, Texas, the city issued a press release and reportedly has “plans to use the video as part of the city’s promotional campaign for local libraries.” News stations picked up the story with headlines like “2-Year-Old Scholar Proves Importance of Libraries.”

I was able to get in touch with Elizabeth and her parents through email, and Elizabeth’s mom Amanda explained why she thinks libraries are so important:

“A library is much more than just a place to read and check out books. To us, the library is important because it is place of possibilities. There are books on any topic we can think of! The library has such a selection to choose from. It doesn’t cost us anything, but the amount we get from it in learning and experience is priceless… We enjoy attending story time, which has made a noticeable impression on both children. They remember the books, songs, and activities. They have developed little friendships with the other children. Their ability to sit attentive and engaged in a group setting has increased… The most important thing about the library, to me as a mother, is that it gives me a safe, enriching environment to bring my kids to and enjoy quality time together.”

Elizabeth responded too (emphasis and enthusiasm added in caps):

“I like to go to the library and check out BOOKS! And check out story folders to do our own story time. And also, I like building a HUGE TOWER out of LEGOS!”

This isn’t Elizabeth’s first viral video. When she was 16 months old, she could swim across a pool, and video showing her ability posted two years ago now has over six million views. Another video shows Elizabeth reading a book on her own at the age of three.



Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.