Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Reading

Last summer I wrote a long and rambling post about my dislike of summer reading, which you can read here. I still have most of those same feelings, and really wish that our education system would change for the better, but on the whole I really do enjoy summer reading and the fun, festive atmosphere it provides around reading and literature.

I also like that in recent years, having a summer reading program for adults has begun to gain more traction in more libraries. On WBEZ lately they’ve been stating a statistic that 53% of adults have “low or limited reading skills.” While most probably think of summer reading as a way to reward current leisure readers (who already see reading as its own reward and really don’t need or perhaps want an added incentive) I wonder which, if any, libraries are using summer reading as a chance to reach out to, program for, and otherwise engage and assist those struggling with illiteracy or limited literacy.

Many communities and librarians have been arguing lately about what people are reading (mostly women and teenagers but that’s a whole discussion unto itself) but perhaps those energies would be better focused on actually making sure people can read, period, rather than being the Good Taste and Worthwhile Literature Police.

What do you think?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Author Visits

How many libraries have hosted author visits for their communities? An author visit is such an excellent way to get your users engaged in the library and to explore the breadth of an author’s work.

My library recently hosted author Adam Selzer, who is a terrific person to bring in because he’s very prolific and he’s written a wide range of books--from middle grade to adult nonfiction--that have wide appeal. When I booktalked his books to a bunch of fifth graders, the most popular title was actually his nonfiction book about ghostbusting, titled Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps. The kids were really excited to tell me their own ghostly experiences and it generated a great conversation.

A lot of authors will do on site visits with varying costs, and even more authors will do Skype visits for free.

Have you ever brought an author to your library? How did it go?