Thursday, May 31, 2012

Library, Books, Reading

Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Medal (Prestigious Children's Award for top book of the year) in 2009 for his book, The Graveyard Book. Gaiman had some interesting things to say about libraries, books, and reading. Gaiman grew up in England.

From the ages of 8-14, Gaiman noted that he haunted his local library during school holidays. He would get his parents to drop him off on the way to work and he would walk home when the library closed. Gaiman described his reading practices: "I read indiscriminately, delightedly, hungrily." Sometimes, literally hungrily, except when his father pack him lunches. He said when he became too hungry, he would "gulp his sandwiches as quickly as possible in the library park before diving back into the world of books and shelves."

Gaimon read all kinds of books, some which he would not re-read today. He "devoured" these books. He notes that "there were no bad stories: every story was new and glorious." He said when he read all the books from the children's section, he moved over to the adult section. He notes how helpful the librarians were to him: 
"The librarians responded to my enthusiasm. They found me books." They taught him about inter-library loan and ordered him books all over England. 

Gaimon closes his acceptance speech by trying to re-say what he really wanted to say in case it was missed.:

"Reading is important. Books are important. Librarians are important."

In our world of technology, we forget the importance of books and librarians. My mother took me to the library when I was little and I was allowed to read whatever caught my interest. We have tried to pass on this love of reading and learning to our children. When we connect a child with a book, we have done a great thing.

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