"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, July 26, 2010

IRA recommends Powell's, ignores school libraries

The IRA recommends Powell's, ignores school libraries

Long allergic to the idea that libraries are important, the International Reading Association IRA managed to include a brief mention of "local libraries" at the end of this article in the latest IRA Inspire. No mention of school libraries.

By the way, the mission of the IRA is, according to their website, "is to promote reading by continuously advancing the quality of literacy instruction and research worldwide." Research strongly suggests that school library quality is the core element in literacy instruction.

And how many of our students can afford to buy books in bookstores, not to mention travel to Portland, Victoria, London, or New York? (25% of school children live in poverty in the US)


A South American River Just Isn't a Bookstore

There’s no denying: For convenience, book buyers can’t beat Amazon and other online booksellers. Where else can you search for “beach” books, and come up with 28,226 possibilities?

But there’s still something special about a bookstore with walls and shelves and a door. What teacher can resist the display of new fiction and nonfiction, a great assortment of kids’ books in a special family-friendly area, sections for particular interests, the bargain table?

Wayne Otto, a columnist for the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy back in the day when it was called the Journal of Reading, loves a good bookstore—Powell’s in Portland, Oregon, best of all: “Trust me if you haven’t been there: Powell’s is where bookstore lovers are when they’ve died and gone to heaven…. Picking through the familiar ones there on Powell’s tables, I forgot about the drizzle, the sodden shoes, the soggy jeans and jacket. Got to feeling a little bit euphoric, like when I finally see some familiar faces at a party out of town.”

Whether your summer travels take you to Portland or to Victoria, BC (don’t miss Munro’s Books!) or London (do you prefer Foyles, or the little shops in Bloomsbury?) or New York (are there really 18 miles of books at The Strand?)—or to the mall up the road—take some time to visit a bookstore this summer, and experience a little euphoria. You can find that feeling at your local library, too!

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