Sunday 4 March 2018

Nerd Church - The Value of Reading

Why should we value reading?

Because it's important. Because the literacy of teenagers in the UK is Not Good. Because reading opens the mind to new ideas, new perspectives, other cultures.

Because reading - and comprehension of what you're reading - is more important in the digital age, where we're bombarded by texts, tweets, posts, and online forms, than it ever has been before.

boy sitting in front of giant book and globe

I get frustrated sometimes by how little infrastructure we have to support literacy.

And then we wonder why literacy rates are going down.

When I have to explain - not once, but several times - to the volunteer librarian, how to renew my books for me, the system is DEFINATELY underfunded.

And more and more libraries are relying on volunteers. Where the libraries still exist at all.

This isn't me having a pop at library volunteers.

Lord knows, I'm grateful that they're there, because I know my local library would close without them.

But they often aren't trained properly. And the inconsistency of competency benefits no-one.

It says something, though, doesn't it, about the way the country values reading?

If buildings full of books are places for harassed and bemused volunteers, what does that say about the value we place on literacy?

Libraries are so much more than just books - especially in poor communities - but it's the reading aspect I want to focus on here.

Because there comes a time, between kid-hood, and teen-hood, when the love of reading, for many people just drops of the map.

The enthusiasm is gone. And that's so very, very, sad. Because it will hurt people, both academically and emotionally, in the long run.

There are no easy answers here. There's no quick fix. But there are things that can be done.

Firstly  - and I probably don't have to tell you guys this but it always helps to be clear - put your actions where your mouth is (not money, because not all of us can afford that thank you v. much!)

Harley Quin sipping tea and reading in prison
#LifeGoals 😉

(Via Giphy)

Set an example. You agree that reading's important? AWESOME!

Talk about books. Read books. Borrow books. Give books to friends. Fight the good bookish fight.

The lovely Daniela @ Nocturnal Devices has an awesome pledge to show you what I mean.

Secondly, expect more from your politicians. From your teachers. From your infrastructure.

Hold them to account.

Let them know that you expect them to value reading and literacy - and not just in a 'pay it lip service' kind of way.

You want kids and teens to value reading? You need to start with yourself.

We can do this. We can do anything. If we really try.

So, this post kind of meandered a bit, but what do you think my nerdlets?

Are you with me? Are libraries well-funded where you are? Do you think we need to value reading more?

You can follow me on Twitter @CeeDoraReads, on Dora Reads @ BlogLovin, and on Google+. For more ways to support me, check out the Support Me page

Related Reading:

Accidental Hipster Mum


  1. So true! I think we can do a lot more to encourage our kids, and especially teens. Of course, HOW to do that is a whole other question, and it can be tough!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. We can start by having the resources - such as libraries - available and fit for purpose! It's primarily a cultural change - we need to consider reading important for everyone, not just kids! XD

  2. I give books to people as gifts. I always hope that will encourage my friends and family to read. Most of them never end up reading the books I give them, but at least I’m trying :). Great post!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thank you! :) And f**k yeah! You can't start a revolution without the boots (or in this case, books,) on the ground! ;)

      (I'm blaming the coffee for this comment.)

  3. I definitely agree, Cee! I’m fortunate to have a really great library near me but I rarely see any kids or teens in there! I don’t want to sound like an old person here, but i truely think that teens are too caught up in the digital age now to care about good old bound paper. BUT if they were to see the amazing digital options for reading now, such as ebooks and the fact that you can borrow ebooks from the library nowadays, maybe then things can improve.

    1. Well, the plus side is that my library *always* has kids in it - it's the only place that some kids in my town can get access to computers or the internet. Plus, it's safe and warm, so some parents tell the kids to go there after school until they get off work, and can go pick them up. Some kids used to spend every day of school holidays there because their parents couldn't afford childcare.

      The minus side, is that my local library is small, poorly designed, underfunded, under-stocked with books, and under-staffed (at least with people who know what they're doing.) And I *know* there are others in nearby towns that are in even worse shape.

      And there's always gonna be a place for printed books ;) we just have to show that we care about them. We have to set the example of thinking of books and libraries as a necessity rather than a luxury.

  4. I'm pretty sure the literacy rate in our country is even lower. And it sucks because those who are literate actually have really bad grammar, or at least that's what I can gather from personal experience. I come from a private school with a really good educational background, but a lot of my classmates have trouble practicing basic grammar, despite the fact that we're already seniors. :(

    1. I did A-level English with a girl who thought the past tense of 'to climb' is 'clumb.' Her family were one of the most well-off in the area. I totally feel your pain! XD

  5. I live in the US now and the library is funded by our taxes.
    I am fortunate that our town has 2 great libraries. My kids love to play and borrow books and DVDs from the library. The library has great resources too and there are lots of free programs there as well.
    It's sad to hear that your library is not up to par.
    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

    1. My library's doing better than a lot of others. Some places near where I live have to go two towns away to get to the nearest library - so I'm just thankful we have one!

      Our libraries are funded indirectly through our taxes. The local council - which is funded by the government; actually here it's funded by the Welsh government, which is funded by the Westminster government, as well as by local taxes - funds the libraries. They decide what to spend their money on, and if they decide to cut funding to put it in other areas, then that's what they've decided. I don't really blame them - there's a lot of poverty and front-line services which need that money - but Wales is underfunded by the Westminster government, and it trickles down the line.

      Glad to hear your libraries are awesome! :) Appreciate them! :)

  6. I have no idea how well-funded the libraries are here cuz I do my borrowing online, but they def sound underfunded where you are, which is sad :-/ Reading IS important. It promotes empathy, which we seem to need a lot more of lately. It's also just great and could really make a big difference in the lives of kids and teens and even adults if books were more accessible and if people could realize how great reading can be!

    1. Our libraries are def. under-funded - unfortunately, so are a lot of other amenities here, and it can be hard to justify the spending.

      If you have the chance to visit your local library, then take it - footfall counts a lot towards the funding of a lot of libraries, so just popping in will help them! :)

      F**k yeah! Reading is oh-so important. And too often it's the poorer kids who miss out on the opportunities - let's change the effing world! ;)

  7. I feel like reading teenagers has always been a problem. When I was a teen, I think I was the only person I knew who read books. I imagine it's much harder to coax them into it now, social media was hardly about back then and now everything kids need for a distraction is on their phone. We've got two local libraries but one has the smallest teen section ever. They have a big bit for kids but teens often get forgotten!
    Thank you for joining in with #RVHT, I hope you can make it again tonight!

    1. We def. need to normalise reading as something that people just *do* - like taking a shower or whatever, lol. :)

    2. Haha yes! Although I think some teens don't do that very often either!

    3. Ha, probably best to end that thought right there! :)

  8. I really value reading for so many different reasons. I think there is so much we can learn, and so muck that really shapes us as people when it comes to reading. And there really is a book out there for everyone! More than one! Because there are so many books out there.

    It's part of the reason why I blog and promote books on all my social media. I love when someone who doesn't read much comes back to me and says they decided to pick up a book I reviewed and it helped them or they learned from ti some way.

    It's such a shame how we have so little support for libraries and book stores lately. :/ People are not recognising the value!

    1. We just have to keep fighting that bookish fight! ;)

      And that's so awesome! You're clearly making an impact! :) Keep being amazing! :)


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