Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Unsolicited Advice to Readers

Of late a certain topic seemed to resonate with me on a number of blogs. Reading and books.

All 5 of you readers know I am a librarian so I don't suppose that my interest getting piqued by such a topic is noteworthy. But you also know that we don't really specialize in noteworthy over here more like huffy and bossy. And it is in that vein that I post today.

I wanted to say a few words about the tension associated with book collections. Working in libraries I have long ago given myself permission to borrow and not buy books. Books, like ideas, are meant to be shared. That's why I so enjoy the book recommendations we make here. Reading is meant to be shared.

I am ashamed I haven't be on the ball enough to get on board with the cool reading goals blogging. I live it vicariously through the ever spot-on Mamacita Tina.

Then there is Mary P's challenge to blog what we adults read? How embarrassing would that be? Uhm, nothing. I have one collegue who will tell you I don't really trust a librarian who doesn't read. Internal dork retort: "Ahem, well I'm in system admin! er do PDFs count?"

In all the banter about how privileged we are to write... fine.. but we write because we can read. urrrch.. Please, take a moment if you can to thank your lucky stars for that privilege among your many others. I noted another reminder in my local library last week for one-on-one reader volunteers. Despite our smugness about education in the Western world we should not underestimate how many have literacy elude them. How many children have parents who linguisically cannot or are economically unavailable to provide a storytime? You know I love my grad school education as much as the next guy.. but when we think of education remember the small college programs that are barely continuing to provide literacy programs for all sorts of folks in the rush to offer 52 kinds of MBA's. Go to your local library and keep it vibrant with a deep community of users and keep them funded! Look to share the reading experience with all you kids and their friends.. not just peers. 100% literacy, not 40%, is what we want. Education has gone far.. but not far enough.. yet.

Now I gotta run Any Which Way You Can is on. Seriously!

ps... A thanks due to Sage for egging me on for this one.

And... HBM, all the men are reading David Mitchell... you might like that.

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7 Comments:

Blogger NotSoSage said...

Thank you. Good point all of this. I have to admit, I don't take as much advantage of our library as I should (then again, as I've said, I'm not reading much for pleasure these days), but Joe has and it's been good. And I love the ideas behind the groups I've been reading about where books are passed around from person-to-person by arranging ahead of time and leaving them on a park bench. I love that idea, and I love what you've said about privilege, because you're so right.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

We would be dead without libraries. Period. I use "we" in both the personal and royal sense of the word.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The library is great and we really should go there more - we spend a lot of time at our beloved Kidsbooks (which is library-ish?)

What frightens me is the number of literate professional people who don't read to their kids. At all. Or read sporadically from "books" that are thinly disguised attempts to market products and characters.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

I do tend to get a bit lazy in reading to my kids, but we do read lots in our house and we do go and stock up at the library a lot.

Adam's preschool is doing a fun project where we will provide them with a list of 5 fave books..why they are etc..and they will endeavor to add them to their collection for a month so everyone can experience a fave from each kid.

i am really looking forward to it.

"Or read sporadically from "books" that are thinly disguised attempts to market products and characters."

Are you talking Dora? I feel a book is a book..and if it isn't selling a toy and encourages discussion and fun...it serves its purpose..no matter the subject.

I have been boggled that these weird 'Barbie' books that 'nana in law' gave us were actually ok...i had been horrified at first!

8:32 PM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Ditto your thought on reading, MoWo. In my spare time, I used to tutor adult illiterates. It always amazed me to see how many people had fallen through the cracks in the system or didn't have parents who took the time to teach them to read. As an avid reader, this used to break my heart. At the same time, nothing was more rewarding than helping an adult learn how to read for the very first time.

Left turn, Clyde!

6:19 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Oh, I loves me a good library plug.. And we don't just do storytimes, we do teaching of preliteracy skills and how parents can incorporate them, we do one-on-one reading help for grades 2-5, we do english help in the summer... It's funny, working in a heavily multicultural and overpopulated and underprivileged neighbourhood, I still see most families putting am emphasis on this stuff. I forget that there are some people out there who just don't or can't. Thanks for the reminder - strange, sad, scary, but true.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

I came by way of Mad Hatter's Just Posts! So I'm sorry to be late to this Library Love Fest.

I'm chair of my local Library Board. I love libraries - those little bastions of socialism afloat in the sea of capitalism that is modern society.

I agree whole heartedly that books are meant to be shared. I do however grow weary of book snobbery - I think that more people would read if there was less 'shame' attached to reading light fiction (be it westerns or romance or mysteries).

We're just back from our story hour. Which always ends with me schlepping home 30 lbs of books for the boys and myself and my husband to enjoy. Also we are usually coated in glitter and glue.

Oh, Anonymous@8:22pm: No, a library is not like Kidsbooks. One is free for the general public. The other is a commercial enterprise. The former inclusive, the latter NOT AT ALL.

1:12 PM  

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