professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

Building an Oasis

It is summer in Texas. For those of you who live in cooler climes, you might not understand summer in these parts. It means not only high temperatures (we are heading for a week of triple digits that might extend even longer) and high humidity. Basically, if you have to do something involving the outdoors, best be done before the sun is fully up. Loose and lightweight clothing is de rigeur. And are-conditioning is what helps us survive. I am up way before dawn this morning and the AC is already running. Some folks ask why I live in a place where summers are largely spent indoors. Here are the reasons: September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April (and sometimes May).

Why am I writing about the weather? Well, it does sort of dominate the days here. But I am also reminded of the heat when it comes to books and reading. This article from The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/where-books-are-nonexistent/491282/) talks about book deserts, places where access to books is limited if not nonexistent.

I grew up in a book oasis thanks, in large part, to my mother who was an avid reader. She took me (and later my younger sisters) to the public library which required a streetcar ride. But at the end of the ride was the Carnegie Library and the promise of riches I could only imagine were it not for this incredible library. I was fortunate. I was spoiled, too, since I thought ALL libraries would be as grand as the one from my childhood.

Books and having access to books provided an oasis for me throughout my childhood. In her Nerd Talk last week, Donalyn Miller talked about her own oasis experiences in THE HOUSE THAT READING BUILT (https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/the-house-that-reading-built-by-donalyn-miller/). An educator from New York talked to me about her "pop-up" libraries where she goes into schools and leaves books for kids to take, to own. Many of us are working to provide oases in the desert.

When we float on books, when we buy books for our children, when we donate books to schools and teachers, we are helping to form more and more oases. Katherine Sokolowski offered a session on the care and feeding of a classroom library at Nerd Camp and talked about how to begin building a collection, an oasis. You can access her presentation materials here: https://www.padlet.com/katsok/nerdcamp.

Imagine a world where we eradicate book deserts, where all kids have access to live-giving, life-affirming books.
Tags: books, deserts, oases
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