Librarians Should Always Promote Reading

There was an article on Gawker recently about a New York library director who asked a little boy who loves books to quit reading so much because he's making the other kids look bad.

"The Glen Falls Post-Star reports that Marie Gandron, Director of the Hudson Falls Public Library accused 9-year-old Tyler Weaver of 'hogging' the summer reading club's annual 'Dig into Reading' competition, because he's taken the top prize five years in a row."

"The contest requires each participating child to read at least 10 books over the course of six weeks in order to get invited to an end-of-summer party. By comparison, Tyler won the latest event by reading 63 books in just over a month."

Gandron, the Director, thinks that "[o]ther kids quit because they can’t keep up."

"She believes Tyler should 'step aside' and has even proposed a raffle-style selection of next year's winner in order to ensure the fifth grader doesn't win."

I understand that Gandron, the Director, is concerned about getting other children to participate, but this is not the way. She should have quietly changed the competition to a raffle style and announced it at the beginning of next summer's competition. There is no reason to condemn a child for reading too much and intimidating other children. If the contest requires each participating child to read at least 10 books over the course of six weeks, then all of the children who complete the challenge should be entered into a raffle to win a prize. That's all. Nothing else needs to be said.

This will ensure that the other children will still enter the challenge and also have a chance to win the prize, and everyone is happy. Sometimes these things seem so obvious. Librarians should always promote reading. Thanks to the recession, library use overall is up, but we should not treat valuable patrons negatively. This Director could have had such a negative impact on the little boy that he could tune down his reading, and that would be a shame. Although something tells me that Tyler will always be an avid reader -- kudos kid!


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