professornana (professornana) wrote,

shooting ourselves in the foot

Today at ALA in Chicago, the teens came to talk books to the BFYA Committee. There will be some teens attending other functions here as well. Most committees seek out teen input, welcome it as a matter of fact. And that is good given this recent piece from Pew: Here is part of the report findings: "A full 75 percent of Americans aged 16 to 29 reported reading a book in print within the last year versus just 64 percent of older adults. (That jumps to 85 percent for those in the 16 to 17 age bracket.)"

So, for all those asking if kids are reading, I think the answer is that, yes, many (if not most) are. Ad yet we underestimate this group regularly. The example, unfortunately, comes from some of the same group as those attending ALA. I spoke to someone about a book I thought was one that committees should consider. The person's response was that it was a book ordered and then one that she ordered returned to the jobber because it was too dark, not appropriate. SIGH. It is always disappointing to find someone who should be reading widely bt is, instead, closing her or his mind to a book. Let's shoot ourselves in the foot by being the gatekeepers. Let's keep books away from kids because they might be scary. Let's protect kids from darkness. Let's not give kids credit for being able to read about books with intense content without becoming violent or morbid or whatever.

On the other hand here, though, are the thousands of others who are here visiting exhibits and attending programs to learn more about the books and their authors. They are raving crowds and dangerous bags of books that threaten to topple and spill and jab. They are walking miles (and often at snail's pace) to see the new books and to meet the authors behind them. They will take those books back for their kids to read in the fall. In the meantime, they will curl up between events and read those same books themselves and then find someone else to talk about them, too.

I have books to read. Then, they need to pass on to others who are in the classrooms and who will share them with kids knowing how important those books will be.
Tags: ala, closed minded, conferences, gatekeepers, open

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