2014 Reading Challenge: Rediscover the Magic of Reading

Carrie Herrmann has 25 years of experience in libraries, most of those in Northern Kentucky. A Graduate of University of Kentucky, Carrie is the Public Service Coordinator for Boone County Public Library.

We are all so busy these days that sometimes it’s difficult to find time to read a magazine, let alone a book. 2014 is just around the corner and with it comes a chance to set new goals and resolutions for the New Year. Why not take this opportunity to make reading one of your New Year’s Resolutions? To make it easy for you, we’ve put together a year-long Reading Challenge. It’s very simple–pick up, or print, a reading log bookmark and track the items you read or listen to from the list of monthly genres. Turn your completed reading log bookmark into any Library location by December 31, 2014, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a tablet. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. You can start the reading challenge at any time; the goal is just to read 12 books from the different genres by the end of the year.

Reading log bookmarks will be available at all library locations beginning Monday, December 16, or you can print one here: http://www.bcpl.org/docs/reading-challenge-bookmark.pdf

Not sure what to read? No worries – we’ll have booklists available and Library staff will be happy to offer suggestions. It can be fiction or nonfiction, whatever you want as long as it fits the theme. This is a chance for you to read outside your comfort zone or find gems in the genres you already know and love.

A 2012 Pew Internet Study (Reading Habits in Different Communities) found that 22% of Americans had not read a book in the previous 12 months.  As a librarian and an avid reader, I found that number shocking.  I can’t imagine not reading and not sharing my love of books.  Besides pure enjoyment, there are many benefits to reading. Here are a few obvious benefits to reading, you can probably think of some more.

Reading:

  • Reduces stress. Losing yourself in a good book can allow you to relax.
  • Increases knowledge. Everything you read (fiction and nonfiction) adds knowledge.  Books can expand your horizons. In addition, reading is portable, meaning you can learn anywhere and at your own pace.  The more knowledge you have the better equipped you are to deal with challenges.
  • Expands vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to.  Being articulate is a great asset in any profession.
  • Improves writing skills. Exposure to the written word influences your writing style.
  • Improves your memory.  When you read you have to remember an assortment of characters, plots and subplots.  Each new memory creates a new synapse in your brain and strengthens existing ones.  This aids in short term memory retention.
  • Improves creativity.  The more you read, the more you are exposed to new, different and more complete information.  This allows you to come up with more creative ideas because you see how information from many different sources can be combined into a new idea.
  • Improves focus and concentration. In our world today, attention is drawn in a million different directions as we multi-task, check our email, monitor Facebook and Twitter, and check texts on our phones while we interact with people.  When you read, all of your attention is focused on the story.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, reading was often a social activity. Community reading took place at coffee houses, literary salons, reading clubs and sewing circles. Today, we still enjoy discussing the latest books we’ve read, but quite often our discussions take place online. So for the 2014 Reading Challenge, we have set up a GoodReads account:  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/114240-boone-county-public-library. GoodReads is the world’s largest social media site for readers and book recommendations. We invite you to join our community of readers and introduce yourself. Tell us about the books that make you laugh, make you cry–the books you didn’t like–the books you can’t put down. (Participation in GoodReads is not a requirement of the Reading Challenge.)

Whether you decide to participate in the 2014 Reading Challenge or not, Boone County Public Library wishes you a year full of reading opportunities and joy! Come see us!

–Carrie

 

 

A Little Library Music

Emily Vater works in the Reference Department as a Public Services Associate. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from NKU and has worked for Boone County Public Library for almost eight years.

Imagine an average day at the Library. It could be the middle of the week, a weeknight, or even a weekend. An impregnable silence penetrates the Library. Without notice, a cautious melody begins to play. The sound manages to break through the silence and soars through the Library’s dome. Capitalizing on its freedom, the melody trickles down and boldly plays until the Library is enveloped with music. Patrons and employees look up from their books, computers, and phones to wonder at the sound. Is someone’s cell phone ringing? Someone who forgot to plug their headphones into the computer? But no, the music is everywhere. As the notes wash over the building, they become accustomed to the artful performer and though it still feels a little foreign to hear music playing the Library, ears adjust and everyone settles in for an unexpected performance.

A little boy sits poised at the piano, fingers hovering over the keys, the anticipation making him wary to play. With a deep breath, and a glance at his music sheet, he begins. Today it’s Bach, but some days it’s Beethoven or Chopin. The classical notes are easy, but it’s the rock that has to be practiced. He pauses and switches gear to play “Heart and Soul,” a familiar tune for most, but to him it’s new and exciting. After twenty minutes, amid applause from the staff and those patrons around him, he rushes upstairs, a giddy smile betraying his humility.

This is not a typical noise for a public library. Long heralded as a place where “shhing” was as common as the grouchy librarian with a stiff bun atop her head, the Main library has ushered in a different way for patrons to enjoy the Library. Come and show off your talent underneath the Library’s dome where the upright piano awaits its next performer. This is the chance to showcase your talents, whether you are a seasoned player or a newcomer who is eager to test out the acoustics of the building. Classical minuets, movie soundtracks, even Charlie Brown arrangements have made appearances. Young or old, classic or contemporary, fan favorites or original, all pieces are welcome. Don’t know what to play? Feel free to choose from our selection of piano books, all poised and ready on the piano.

–Emily