15.3.08

Libraries

I was at a day-long session with writers and editors at Concordia University yesterday and heard all manner of interesting things. What will stay with me, though, is the wonderful Montreal poet and translator Erin Moure talking about how much the public library up her street meant to her when she was growing up in Calgary. She'd formulated a plan to start at the As and systematically make her way around the whole room, when a teacher noticed that she was a reader and gave her a copy of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. "I couldn't read that!" exclaimed Moure. "I was still on the Bs." But she did read it, and then read her way through the list that followed, joyfully sharing books with her reading-minded friends.

It was a lovely story and a strong reminder of how important teachers and librarians can be in the lives of children. It may be sappy to say so, but hey, colour me sappy. I can live with it.

Over at the Dewy Donation System I see that their final tally for this week is:
882 DONORS
1,928 BOOKS
17, 494 DOLLARS

Way to go!

Here's an excerpt from a letter from Alicia Fox, librarian at the Children's Institute which was published on the Dewey site:

Kids who requested books are excited that they were donated and are now impatient to check them out! In the last two weeks we’ve had a surge of library card applications as kids are spreading the word to their friends that we have some cool books coming in. A 7-year-old boy that signed up last week got so excited last week when he got to check out some Bionicle books that he squealed in delight. It’s so rewarding to know that these kids who don’t always have a lot of perks in life can come here and be able to read books that appeal to them. I can tell that it has meant a lot to these kids that we have taken the time to listen to their requests and that people out there are listening to them! A 9-year-old girl asked me last week what it was like to be a librarian because she had to write a paper on what she wanted to be when she grew up and she thought what I did was so cool…to be surrounded by all these great books and get to read them. That was definitely a teary-eyed moment for me! The idea that these kids value libraries enough to want to work in one some day is a real treat, and something that I think the Dewey donors have had a real part in. Until now, most of the books donated to us are used and worn and often outdated. Since we are now getting new books that kids are asking for it has really transformed our library into the place to be!

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