AKA Librarians, of course.
When parents ask for ideas and strategies to get their kids to read more, one suggestion at the top of my list is “Get to know your local, children’s librarian.”
If your school or neighborhood has a decent library, chances are that there is a librarian there who could become your ally.
Librarians live and breathe books and know more about what’s hiding in the stacks – including the virtual stacks of inter-library networks – than you or I ever could. Even the more forbidding librarians – and some do exist, even in the children’s section! – can be coaxed to share gems given genuine respect and interest on your part.
I’ve gone to the children’s section at our local library with vague questions like “ummm… my son is in middle school and he’s really loved The Hunger Games and Divergent series…you know adventure, dystopia, post-apocalyptic-type stuff…err…?” Back comes the answer: “Has he ever tried The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve or The Drowned Cities series by Bacigalupi?” Boom! She goes on to rattle off a bunch more ideas and probably hands me a list to boot. Some recommendations won’t stick, but something will invariably work, and set my son (who has probably been perusing Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days for the nth time in the interim) off on his next bookish adventure.
To those of you who have access to such an awesome ally: Does your librarian go out of the way to connect your child to a book he wouldn’t have reached for otherwise; redirect him to a new genre to try; organize shelf displays that prompt a new line of inquiry or an interesting discussion around the dinner table? Does your librarian stretch the budget to arrange visits and demonstrations by a beloved illustrator, or show your child how technology can be used to enhance the reading experience (Skyping with authors happens at our elementary school, thanks to our wonderfully innovative school librarian)? There are so many amazing things librarians do and can do!
If you have a librarian who truly aims to enrich lives, here’s a chance to do something in return:
Nominate him or her for the “2017 “I Love My Librarian” Award.” This prestigious award, conferred on 10 librarians each year, is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Public Library, The New York Times, and the American Library Association. Get all the details about the nomination form, prizes, past winners etc. on the I Love Libraries website. Nominations must be submitted before 18 September 2017.
Here’s your chance to give back: Show a great librarian some love. Get a group together and nominate a true-blue, neighborhood Book Buster for the recognition he or she deserves!
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