One of my favorite stories of a library’s affect on an individual is one that Gary Paulsen, author of Hatchet & many more YA novels, tells about himself.
“I was never a dedicated student but I developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave me a book to read — along with my own library card — I was hooked. I spent hours alone in the basement of my apartment building, reading one book after another.” Here he is on YouTube.
This is not an uncommon story. I see and hear the effect of libraries and librarians on kids every day. Mom’s read to newborns, put an early reader in their hands as soon as they can hold one, read to them constantly. These mom’s know the importance of reading to their kids and the impact that can have on their lives.
If it is possible for reading to be more important than ever, that day has arrived. The child I just spoke about has entered an information age. He or she will be in school preparing for jobs that don’t exist today. Middle School, High School and College students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist today.
Jamestown and Stutsman County’s history will be remembered and respected, but it does not prepare our students for the challenges they face in the future. It is the school system’s and the libraries role to prepare them for tomorrow’s challenges. That is why the library will soon join the Jamestown School System in a “Literacy Workshop” whose goal is to meet these challenges.
I recently met with Rob Lech, the new Jamestown School Superintendent and had an intense conversation, he called it a soliloquy, about collaboration. We don’t know exactly what projects we will develop, that will come as we meet and discuss our goals and challenges. What we do know is that it is crucial for students to focus on reading and writing to improve communication and learning skills.
What we say about students also holds true for adults. Jamestown and Stutsman county are projected to have major growth over the next ten years. New people, new jobs, new challenges, all lead to one imperative.
Be ready to change.