Having lived for 8 years in a country where there appeared to be no real library service that I could access it was with joy and real interest that I walked down the hill to join the public library today. It was swift, it was easy and thoroughly painless. I had forgotten the pleasure of wandering the shelves soaking it all in. I had forgotten how much pleasure I got from simply being there amongst all those other people who were reading or online, who were browsing, chatting (quietly) and in some cases sleeping. I can’t say I got the feeling that it was a library of the future, there was no collaborating that I could see, no real creating going on and certainly no eating or mobile devices. The on-line section was quite limited with no English fiction but it was still a great trip. I had forgotten how lovely it is to think you can take the books home with you. You can try something new and not feel guilt about deciding it’s not for you or you can uncover a gem that you might want to keep longer.
Talking of which, whilst I was there I had a look at the collection based around school libraries. Not particularly extensive but it did have a few texts that I think I will be exploring in the future. One that I brought home was Twenty first century kids. Twenty first century librarians. Walters, V.A. (2010) I particularly liked the chapter on the children we serve. Walters challenges her students to come up with the top 10 reasons for children to read fine literature. So I thought I’d set myself that challenge. I’ve got 11 but there are probably a lot more out there.
Top 11 reasons to read.
1. Reading is enjoyable and can bring joy and delight.
2. Reading gives us a global community. It keeps your own identity alive whilst describing people and lands outside your frame of reference.
3. Reading enables us to access information and to learn about whatever we are interested in.
4. Reading forms bonds between parents, guardians, caregivers and children. It can do the same between adults through discussion and book clubs.
5. Reading enables people of any age to make time for themselves.
6. Reading develops vocabulary, giving us words to think with and to manipulate. (Walters, V.A. 2010)
7. Reading gives you something to do on those boring journeys, when you are ill or on those rainy days.
8. Reading gives us power.
9. Reading fosters the ability to focus and concentrate.
10. Reading fosters the imagination encouraging us to make pictures in our heads.
11. Reading gives us stories to make sense of the world and our own lives.
Now whether this reading is done online, with a book or with an e-reader or other mobile device I really don’t care. I don’t feel the need to keep the paper book or see the e-reader taking over completely. What does interest me though is whether will we always need to read. In the future will there ever be a time that reading is marginalised? a time when we don’t need the skill because we will have developed other forms of communication that will take over.
Hmmm more thinking required.