I’m sorry…

While I was updating our hallway bulletin board recently, a student noticed one of the book covers being posted. It was something she’d read and loved, and she was eager to chat about it – so we did. After a few minutes, one of our Senior Leaders (whose office is adjacent to the board), popped her head out to ask what book we were talking about, because our conversation was so interesting she wanted to read the book.

A connection like this makes our day, as does offering readers’ advisory. But recommending a great read to someone who has asked for a suggestion is one thing. Suggesting that someone take a look at a book I think they’d find interesting is another. All of our kids and colleagues are busybusybusy. The many demands on their time are important and worthwhile, but often fill up so much of their schedules that they “don’t have time to read”.

Somewhere along the line, this response has gotten into my head because I find myself apologizing for the mere suggestion that someone carve out time to read for pleasure. It’s got to stop.

Our listserv has been peppered with recent studies about the importance of reading for pleasure, and the panel of college librarians at #aisltampa highlighted the relationship they see between pleasure reading & academic success. We all know that reading reduces stress, increases focus, and expands a reader’s vocabulary, among so many other benefits. I need to put this research into action!

So – for the purposes of accountability, I hereby pledge to you that I will stop apologizing for suggesting that people take time out their busy days to read for pleasure, whether it be chapter of a book, a magazine article, or a blog post. I will help them find the right book for the right time. And I will gently suggest when they may find time to read.

My name is Shelagh and I am not sorry.


One thought on “I’m sorry…

  1. Hi, Shelagh,
    I know ‘everyone’ thinks that ‘nobody’ has time to read these days, and that goes double for young folk, but (at least here at Harvard-Westlake Upper School) ‘everyone’ would be wrong. We’ve just completed our annual student survey about library use and have found that over 20% of our students have checked out at least one library book to read for pleasure just this year. Mind you, this doesn’t count those who get books from other libraries or who buy their own books. To continue with the stats, 7% of our students (29 who responded to the survey) have checked out 4 or more books for pleasure reading this school year. Considering how rigorous our school is (like yours), these numbers tell me that yes, kids are reading, and some kids are reading a lot. So keep on spreading the word– no apologies necessary. We are all missionaries, after all, spreading the love of reading and all the benefits that brings.

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