A quick highlight of my week:
Wednesday morning I went with another co-worker to observe classes at a nearby middle school. The school serves an underserved community, providing a challenging, above-grade level educational opportunity and continued support at the area’s top high schools and colleges. Besides sitting in classrooms all morning taking notes, we also pulled students out of class for quick interviews about their experience at the school and about the physical building itself. (It’s currently in a pretty uninspiring building, but they are about to expand and really transform the whole place, so now is the time to really talk to the kids.)
We asked each kid to name something they currently love about the school, preferably a physical space within the current building that they enjoy being in. The kids all had different answers – although most loved the science room best – they are studying chemistry and the teacher is completely engaging. But one eighth grade boy answered my question without a moment’s hesitation.
“I love the new literacy center the best – the office they turned into a library last year. I love to read, but even more than that, I love to walk into a room with books everywhere. That’s what gets me excited. All of the possible books in front of me.”
I couldn’t have described my favorite places any better. I can’t think of a better way to encourage the importance of not only reading books, but being surrounded by them, seeking them out, loaning or giving them to others, supporting your neighborhood library branch and corner bookstore – no better way to say it than he did.
M was working on a library branch proposal for a city that was recently turned down by the council. In that same meeting, they approved the building of one of those gigantic fish and wildlife super centers, but – in their words – “we don’t want this kind of project in our neighborhood” was their final statement on the library plan. I hope this kid I met on Wednesday is one day involved on some library project somewhere, and he lends his voice to the argument that we should always be surrounded by knowledge and wonder – all the possibilitites, stacked and shelved in front of us.
The Book Fair is this weekend. Head over to Left Bank Books anytime today or tomorrow. I’ll be there from noon – 2pm today, in fact, I’m headed over now. 20% of whatever you purchase will be donated back to the school’s library fund. We’re doing a heck of a job there in surrounding our readers with books.
F reading to Buddy at the Humane Society this week.