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?


  1. A library in Augusta,Ga. in conjunction with talk the talk book club
    hosted Australian author Stephanie Dale.
    She has also made Chappaqua, Cascade in Atlanta and Peekskill
    Libraries part of her national tour. The experience has been a good one!

  2. I don't know of any degreed librarian who would complain about what anyone is reading. Usually it's parents who think that a certain format or title doesn't count as reading somehow. (Audiobooks, for example. I have to constantly explain to parents that it's okay their kids prefer audiobooks. That they help kids build vocabulary and learn cadence, among other things.)

    I encourage any and all kinds of reading. To me, there is no such thing as "guilty pleasure" reading. And don't keep reading something if it's awful! I'm a firm believer in this Readers Bill of Rights:

    At the public library where I work, we do have nice incentives to read. We had 50,000 children sign up for our summer reading club this year and for the first time, we have a winter reading club going on now. The people who are signing up aren't reading just so they can win one of our awesome prizes, they are reading anyway. We do it to show appreciation, and to spread the joy of reading.