My 8-year-old's book was in the adult non-fiction section, which is on another level of the library. I convinced him to look for the same type of book in the children's non-fiction section first. We looked and were rather dissatisfied with the books, so we collected the 12-year-old (who had his new book in hand) and went to the second floor.
My 8-year-old found the section he needed (700s... 746... 746.434) and started perusing for the perfect book. (Anyone who knows the Dewey Decimal System can probably figure out the topic that had piqued my young son's interest.)
As we walked through the 700s, we saw a young man, probably 15 or 16, sitting at a table, reading a book, with a chess board in front of him. I mentioned this to my 12-year-old and suggested that he could go over, introduce himself, and see if the young man was interested in a game of chess. My 12-year-old asked a few clarifying questions, establishing the parameters of our time at the library and what the best words would be to begin such a conversation, and approached the young man. I peeked through a bunch of photography books to see my young man happily engaged in a mental battle with a complete stranger.
My 8-year-old continued searching through the books, probably five or six, until he found just the book he was looking for:
As I was lying on my bed, thinking about the day, I marvelled at these events. One year ago, my youngest had no interest in learning crafty things. Now, he just determined that he would learn to crochet, without any prodding from me at all. One year ago, my oldest would never have had the gumption to approach a stranger and ask to play chess with him in the library. Now, he spent half an hour playing two games of chess and making pleasant, not-at-all-awkward conversation.
They're growing and maturing. Days like this make my heart happy.