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16 July 2016 @ 05:13 am
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.
Current Location: home, air-conditioned, home
Current Mood: cool
Daniela on July 16th, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree more Dr. Lesesne! What's more, the bilingual students in our state, many of which are served through a dual language program needs book in their native language. This is based on the premise that language transfers and when students learn concepts in Spanish, all they need is to find the "label" in English. I don't have to tell you how limited bilingual or collections of other languages other than English are available. Even in the best stocked libraries, the availability of these books is very limited. The deserts are far wider and the need for oases even more dire. Thank you for informing us and encouraging us to do something about it!