This blog has been milling around my head for awhile... as in several months. I was not for sure how to put it into words. I love reading.. I am a librarian. But, I was always reading the same kinds of things by the same kind of authors. This is also a little bit more vulnerable blog in that I didn't realize how much I was stuck in certain reading ways.. and didn't realize how much I needed to GROW (my word of the year!) to be a better person and librarian.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that.. at all.. I tell kids ALL the time that reading is reading (I tell teachers that too!) I also work REALLY hard to make sure that students, staff, and community know that they belong, the library is for everyone, and that I believe in them.
When the pandemic hit back in March- I got SUPER hooked on Crime Junkies as I have now listened to every episode.. and hopefully will soon be able to become a member of the fan club. Then the Black Lives Matter movement really started.. and this changed my WHOLE reading habits. I know that sounds super strange.. but it did.. and here is why.
I grew up in a small town, my parents are still married, I have a bachelors and I have 2 masters. In other words- my upbringing and life don't always mirror the students that I work with. I needed to read outside my comfort zone (which is really weird that I even had a comfort zone and didn't realize it) Thanks to April Richmond I finally read All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. This book was an eye opener and an amazing read... and what I needed to read to become a better librarian and a better person.
My goal this year was to read 30 books... I know that sounds small because I am a librarian.. but.. I also run clubs, have 2 jobs, and do various programming.. and I do enjoy sleeping! But thanks to SORA audiobooks, our amazing Irving Public Library, and having my friend April that would answer questions for me.. and also be my sounding board for different things.. I am now working on my 34th book for the year. 30 of those books were listened to or read since May 31st.
You can find my Goodreads account here
When I do any lesson, I try to be very transparent in my own reading styles- as in I LOVE having books read to me- reading magazines are great-a good graphic novel is AMAZING- and it is okay to read any type of book. This year, my intro lessons also included the fact that I too was stuck in a reading rut, but because I read out of what I thought was a comfort zone I became a more avid reader. I began to read more books that were windows rather than mirrors. I also remind students that it is okay to put a book down.. now.. read more than 3 pages.. try 3-5 chapters.. but it happens. Sometimes a book just doesn't hit how we need it to at that moment. Just like any librarian- I also work really hard on finding those books for every type of reader.
Every lesson this year I end with this:
The more the read the more you know. The more you know and the better human being you become. Guys we need as many good human beings as we can get!
I am so thankful to have such a diverse reading community around me. I also appreciate that I can have conversations with people about different topics that I might not understand and not be judged because I am naïve or I don't have the same background knowledge.
The world is a really hard place right now, for SO many reasons, but reading a good book can help transport you to a different location and time, help you better understand your surroundings, or just be a mirror into your own life.
Thank you April Richmond for helping me become a better librarian and inspiring me to read even more... and thank you for being such a great sounding board.
I can't always change the world, but what I can do is continue to try to "see" other people/customs/thoughts, continue to make sure that I have books for all types of readers and people, and continue to work on not judging a book by its cover.
Other things that helped me and my reading habits:
-Irving Public Library and their North Texas Teen Book Festival Present virtual panels- Go check out their website and their AMAZING virtual author panels- you won't be disappointed!
-Recording Booktalks for my students- This year I began creating a TikTok a week for #booktalktuesday along with a Flipgrid for #booktalktuesday and #WAYRWednesday
-Having someone to talk to about what I was reading-at first it was mainly adults- but now I am able to chat even more with students!!
-Audiobooks (I also listen to my audiobooks a little faster)
-getting a better reading light for next to my bed
-following great people on Instagram/Twitter/TikTok and Facebook
Here's to new reading goals in 2021 and discovering even more amazing authors and illustrators.