Nearly 600 librarians from around the region met in Manchester last month for their annual meeting and all-over good time. The focus of the event was Generations, and, as the keynote highlighted, for the first time 4 generations of librarians are working side by side serving 5 generations of customers. The library has always been the beacon for readers of any generation, and challenges in keeping collections relevant and accessible to everyone are much on the minds of librarians.
On our minds are those folks across the generations who struggle to read at all. Libraries, and librarians, are lifelines for struggling readers, offering encouragement and advice, ESL classes, and night study groups. And they don’t have very much to work with. Conversations with librarians always astonish us, with their dedication to the cause of adult literacy and the scarcity of funding and material to help.
So, with a little pride, Gemma offered 2 new Open Door adult literacy books in New Hampshire—thanks to passionate writers who have worked with new readers for much of their lives. AMERICAN LION, written by our honest-to-God Wyoming cowboy and teacher, Tim Rush, uses real stories of the mountain lion to engage readers in riveting tales about the majestic animal some call the cougar, some call the puma, and everybody calls a magnificent Big Cat. Professor Tim Rush has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy education, humanities education, and linguistics at the University of Wyoming. Working closely with the tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation, he has helped develop UW programs for certifying teachers of American Indian children. Tim put his rugged experience, and his heart, into AMERICAN LION.
And as the YA book always dominates talk among librarians, Rebecca Elswick, author of the delicious Mama’s Shoes (“an intricate and beautiful landscape…a well-tuned and complex work.”—Publishers Weekly), has devised a clever murder mystery starring teenagers. NO STOPPING HER will keep countless classes guessing whodunit. Rebecca, the daughter and granddaughter of coal miners, is the director of the Writing Center at the Appalachian School of Law and a consultant for the Appalachian Writing Project at the University of Virginia’s college at Wise.
These are people who understand the power of a story to teach, and the riches that await readers when books speak to them. We’d like to make sure that all those library visitors find the gold.
Adult literacy…it’s a human right, in any generation.