Just a quick post this morning. I’ll be back later today with a more detailed look at the industry and, hopefully, some news from NRP about one of our favorite authors.
Any way, yesterday I ran away to the library. Yes, I did so willingly and happily. You see, my small community has a brand new library that is just about everything you could want from a library. Beautiful physical facilities, wonderful selection, state of the art computer lab, plenty of parking — something that had always been at a premium — and a wonderful staff. No matter what the reason for going to the library, it’s always a pleasant experience.
But yesterday was one filled with a sense of awe, wonder and satisfaction. I arrived less than five minutes after the library opened and the parking lot was already full. To put this into perspective, the parking lot is the size of a mid-sized grocery store lot. So, plenty of spaces. I parked and started looking around. There were kids there. Lots and lots of kids. Some were in costume, most weren’t. The occasion? Suessfest.
Ah, Dr. Suess can still bring out the kids. They’d come, dragging their parents and siblings and the occasional grandparent, to see the Cat in the Hat and hear Green Eggs and Ham. They could get their faces painted and eat free cookies.
But what impressed me was that while they loved all that, what really excited them were the books. The Friends of the Library put out all the Dr. Suess books they’d collected and the books disappeared as fast as they could be put out. Then the kids went into the library to check out books — books of all sizes, shapes and topics.
Then it dawned on me. These kids were readers. Readers! At a time when we’re being told our kids aren’t reading any more, here were dozens upon dozens of kids willingly, happily looking for books to read. Better yet, parents were guiding them, discussing what they wanted to check out and helping them find even more books that might be of interest.
When I see something like yesterday, it reminds me why we shouldn’t always take these studies as gospel. Data is only as good as the sample pool and as the questions asked. If you want to know if kids read, talk to the librarians and children who work with them on a daily basis. But, most of all, talk to the kids themselves. Better yet, watch them. Actions really do speak louder than words.