Miranda McKearney has been in New Zealand recently, she is the founder of The Reading Agency and also Empathy Lab in the U.K. exploring the idea that readers have more empathy for those worse off than themselves, than those who don’t. She has been here as the guest of the Book Council and The National Library. A group of people including some well known SLANZA peeps, were invited to hear her speak and workshop ideas about literacy last week in Wellington.
During her visit here she was interviewed by Phillippa Tolley from Radio New Zealand for the Saturday Morning programme. Her interview makes interesting listening. She gives a great chat which includes reference to research into the skills which good readers have which may be useful to school librarians when justifying their existence, their budgets and their hours. Listening to this talk I started to wonder if maybe there was the beginning of a push back to the disestablishment of libraries, to the idea that modern learning environments don’t need to have books. I have a LOT of thoughts and opinions on this topic but am not going to vent them here yet. Maybe harnessing the power of someone like Miranda McKeraney is useful for us as school librarians. Maybe the cynics see us as usually self-justifying when we talk about the things we know about libraries and their places in schools and in society. Have a listen, see if what she says rings true for you in your life and the reasons you love books and reading and try to share that with the students you work with and your own children.