Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ban the Internet - Keep the libraries open

One of my favorite films of recent years is i, Robot. Will Smith plays a Chicago police detective named Spooner, living in a world where service robots are as common as dogs. Spurred by his distrust of the "can openers," as he calls them, he follows the trail of clues in a robot engineer's death right to the heart of the technology and information infrastructure. 

In an early scene, Spooner confronts the CEO of the robot company who easily sniffs out his "prejudice" against robots. The CEO says, "I suppose you would have banned the Internet just to keep the libraries open!"

Lucky for us, it looks like we're learning that the Internet and libraries can safely exist side-by-side. In fact, every time I hit the library (at least 3 times a week) there's not an internet computer left unoccupied - and by people of every age, gender, nationality, language. 

Oh, and there are tons of books too. 

What's all this got to do with boys' reading? Well, someone has to keep the libraries open! We have lots of people to thank for that. One of them is the American Library Association (ALA). 

Ever wonder what the ALA is and what they do? In their words“To provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

Take a minute and click through to their website. Dive in an bask in the information. 

Especially check out the Association for Library Service to Children. They deliver research and programs that help create excellent libraries for kids. They're also the ones who give out the Caldecott and Newbery medals (especially important to us children's/YA writers!). 

I, for one, credit pretty much all of my accomplishments to my ability to read and comprehend what's on the page. At a library, you can learn just about anything. Even boys can find interesting things to read! 

I'm glad to be a member of the ALA and hope you and your community (and your boys) find lots of support and information there. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Heard you missed me!

It's been a long time but I have only happy things to talk about. Why am I reactivating the Million Boys Read blog? Lots of reasons: I'm fired up; I've read some things lately that are inspiring me to actively promote this passion of boys' reading; and the secret underground factory is up and running again (what are we building? Stick around and see.).

Why the long hiatus? I put way too much pressure on blogging at one time and found it was not fun -- what a surprise! It was basically writer's block (which I swear I don't believe in). I realize that there are tons and tons of stuff to talk about in the area of boys' and youth reading. I'll be bringing a little of it to you each week. I stand by everything I wrote in my first post January 14, 2008. I've done a lot in the meantime (including having my first 5 books published -- more on those later) and am still passionately dedicated to the Million Boys Read initiative. 

I'm back and revitalized, fired up to inspire one million boys to read and finding channels to do it. 

Here's today's news: 

In their own words: 

Since 1956, IRA has been a nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions committed to worldwide literacy.  More than 85,000 members strong, the Association supports literacy professionals through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism, and professional development activities.  Our members promote high levels of literacy for all by:

  • Improving the quality of reading instruction

  • Disseminating research and information about reading

  • Encouraging the lifetime reading habit
I can get behind all of that. Plus they publish 4 really good journals. One that interests me the most is The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. I'm looking forward to diving further into the topic and techniques of helping boys read. 
You can also check me out at my author page chriseverheart.com