April 13-19, 2014 was National Library Week. Each year the American Library Association sets aside a week to celebrate the important role libraries play in our society. To commemorate this week, Cynthia Atkins sent the following question to faculty and staff “What Were the First Books You Felt You ‘Should’ Read”? As you can imagine, she got varied responses to this question. One person reported Roots by Alex Haley and The Fountainhead were two books which touched her. Another person stated he read the entire encyclopedia by the age of 9.
As I was thinking about my response to this question, I came up with two very different books that affected my life. My first was the Dick and Jane series of books that I learned to read from in the first grade. I remember being read to as a child, but I don’t believe I was able to read on my own when I went to first grade. As a child of the sixties, we didn’t have pre-school and kindergarten so my first exposure to learning was the first grade. I remember Mrs. Ray standing in the front of the room teaching us to read by using these little books. The adventures of Dick, Jane and their dog, Spot, made us want to know more about them and in turn we were learning to read. It opened my eyes to the world through reading.
The second book that I ‘should’ read came much later when I was in graduate school working on my Library Science degree. It was ‘lovingly’ called ‘the green book’ and it was required reading for my information and retrieval course. This was one of the most difficult courses we were required to take. It was a good class for those who would be cataloging and since I was NOT going to ever be a cataloger I really didn’t think I would get much benefit from it. Well, never say never–I came to Hopkinsville as the cataloger and I continue to be the cataloger! The ‘green book’ sets on the shelf in my office and I still refer to it every so often.
These books both had a great impact on my life even though they affected my life 30+ years apart. The first taught me to love reading—something I still love to do even though I don’t get to read nearly as often as I wish I could. The second book taught me about my profession which I also love. Without either of these books, I might not be where I am today.
If you haven’t thought about the question Cynthia posed, give it a little thought and decide what book(s) really did impact your life. If it’s time to revisit one of those books, stop by the library we probably have a copy or we can certainly get it for you. Happy reading!