Friday, December 28, 2012

Room for Debate: "Just Right" Books and Libraries

The New York Times has a series called "Room for Debate" which invites a variety of "experts" in a given field to present brief opinion pieces on given topics.  This week, two of the debate topics are book related.

Thursday's topic was "What's Are 'Just Right' for the Young Reader?" and today's is "Do We Still Need Libraries?"  The answers seem pretty obvious to me!  Haha.  Let young people read what they want to read, and when they seek guidance, offer it based on their interests, not yours.  There is a book for every reader and when a mismatch occurs, the reader will likely stop reading or skim the parts that are too mature, too complicated, etc.  And on the topic of whether we need libraries? Yup. Sure do. Especially children and older adults, who use libraries and library programming extensively and depend on that access.  Plus, it's so cheap (less than $50 per person) to run a library.  It would be foolish to get rid of them.

Anyway, enough of my editorializing.  Go read the debate!

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1 comment:

  1. Not relevant to this post, but since your review of Ask the Passengers was a while ago, and neither of us will think to look for more comments there, I draw your attention to this:

    (comic about Zeno's paradox - don't forget to read the mouseover text too!)

    I finished Ask the Passengers, and I have to respectfully disagree with you: I liked Frank S. a lot, didn't really notice the "They say"'s (which meant that they blended in with the text for me), did notice the extra device (not on your list) of conversations Astrid has with herself, where each participant is named "Me," and did *not* like the passengers parts at all. They read like the author started writing a book centered on passenger-vignettes about different aspects of love, then it evolved into another book, but she kept a few of the vignettes. Plus, were they supposed to be magical realism? (In one, a passenger can hear her; in the last one, she can kind-of hear a passenger.)

    I did really like Astrid's voice, though. And I liked how she not only has a philosophy class (with cool assignments like standing on a 'street corner' and arguing with people!), but also integrates what she's learning in school into her daily life (like Frank S.) - which is exactly the kind of thing I would have done! It's rare that I read a YA book that reminds me so much of the way *I* used to think in high school, and this is one of them. (Interestingly, one of the others is Empress of the World by Sara Ryan, which is also about a teen questioning her sexuality. Reading Nicola's voice in EotW was like reading one of the many notes my best friend and I passed back and forth to each other.)