Another Reading Marathon, this one in Italy

It's not just going on in libraries and bookstores. The Church is now into the reading marathon thing. The text of course is what many call "the Good Book", and the first reader, the Pope (is he Catholic? yes).

AP reports: ROME, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI's "In the beginning" started off a weeklong Bible-reading marathon on Italian television Sunday.
RAI state TV began its program called "The Bible Day and Night," with Benedict reciting the first chapter of the book of Genesis -- the holy text's opening verses about the creation of the world.

The marathon will feature more than 1,200 people reading the Old and New Testament in over seven days and six nights. While the pope recited his segment from the Vatican, most of the reading will be done live in Rome's Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, a basilica built in the fourth century.

On a somewhat similar subject, October is Church Libraries Month. Here are two Church Library Organizations National Church Libraries Association and Evangelical Church Libraries Association.

Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers

Today in the New York Times:

Publishers, authors and even libraries are embracing video games to promote books to young readers.

When PJ Haarsma wrote his first book, a science fiction novel for preteenagers, he didn’t think just about how to describe Orbis, the planetary system where the story takes place. He also thought about how it should look and feel in a video game.

The online game that Mr. Haarsma designed not only extends the fictional world of the novel, it also allows readers to play in it. At the same time, Mr. Haarsma very calculatedly gave gamers who might not otherwise pick up a book a clear incentive to read: one way that players advance is by answering questions with information from the novel.

“You can’t just make a book anymore,” said Mr. Haarsma, a former advertising consultant. Pairing a video game with a novel for young readers, he added, “brings the book into their world, as opposed to going the other way around.”

Full article here.

In Celebration of Banned Books Week

From Shelf-Awareness today: Among the many volunteer readers, Matt Phillips, a librarian at the Twin Hickory Public Library, Glen Allen, VA and his daughter Sydney read Where's Waldo by Martin Handford (No. 88 on the ALA's top 100 banned and challenged books 1990-2000) in the library's Banned Books Weeks window. Adrienne Minock, teen librarian at Twin Hickory, wrote that the window has "gotten a lot of attention. We hear a lot of 'Mom, what are those people doing in there?' The best part has been hearing parents explain to their kids what the display is all about, which is exactly what we wanted to happen!"

Laura's Last Hurrah

After leaving the White House Laura Bush plans to continue promoting literacy through the United Nations and the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas.

The AP reports that the first lady, who will host the National Book Festival on Saturday, also said she hopes her signature Washington event becomes a lasting tradition -- and she'll whisper something about that to the next first lady. This is the eighth year for the book festival, which will be covered on BookTVon CSpan-2 all day Saturday.

Will we miss having a librarian in the White House?


Another Reason To Get A Library Card

There are lots of reasons to have a valid and up to date library card, but here's one you might not have thought of...

In keeping with National Library Card Sign Up Month, the local independent bookstore La Vieille Maison des Livres announces a free book giveaway. Bring your new (dated September 2008) library card and receive a free children's book. This offer is open to all new library sign ups by children of Union County (PA) in grades 1-6.

Hopefully Mom & Dad will also shop around and find something to their liking at the bookshop and keep their dollars in the community.

Teach the Children Well and From an Early Age

It completely makes sense, but does it happen at school systems around the country? And do parents follow through?

On September first, the Arlington (TX) Public Library is launching a campaign to get library cards into the hands of the estimated 50,000 children who attend pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Students who attend schools in the city limits will receive an application to take home to their parents. Once the application is signed, children can receive their card at the library or through the mail, Libraries Director Cary Siegfried said. More from the Star-Telegram.

Books for Dessert: club for intellectually disabled

When Jamie Comer graduated from high school at age 21, gone were the in-depth assignments and hours of homework that had long challenged him.

As Comer, who has Down syndrome, began to gradually lose critical thinking skills without the aid of vigorous schoolwork, his mother struggled to find opportunities to keep him mentally sharp.

"People have always assumed that people like Jamie don't really have opinions on anything remotely complex," said his mother, Nancy Comer, 64, of Port Washington. "They're just expected to work and be happy."

But Nancy Comer wanted more for her son, now 29, and other adults with developmental disabilities. Five years ago, with the help of like-minded advocates and the Port Washington Public Library, she formed Books for Dessert, a book club - thought to be the only one of its kind on Long Island - for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Full story here.


Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

Books are not Nadia Konyk’s thing. Her mother, hoping to entice her, brings them home from the library, but Nadia rarely shows an interest.

Instead, like so many other teenagers, Nadia, 15, is addicted to the Internet. She regularly spends at least six hours a day in front of the computer here in this suburb southwest of Cleveland.

A slender, chatty blonde who wears black-framed plastic glasses, Nadia checks her e-mail and peruses, a social networking site, reading messages or posting updates on her mood. She searches for music videos on YouTube and logs onto Gaia Online, a role-playing site where members fashion alternate identities as cutesy cartoon characters. But she spends most of her time on or, reading and commenting on stories written by other users and based on books, television shows or movies.

Full story in the New York Times


Giving Away Used Books To a Good Home

David Mazor started his "Reader to Reader" program by trying to determine which town in which state was the poorest; then he called up the school librarian there and offered free books. This was eight years ago, and according to the Christian Science Monitor, the program based on the campus of Amherst College is still going strong and benefiting thousands of students across the U.S.

Dolly Parton Takes Her Imagination Library Program to the U.K.

Bromley Central Library staffer Ian Dodds has been personally picked by the one and only Dolly Parton as one of four children's literature selectors for the UK division of her Imagination Library.

The Bromley Times reports: Mr. Dodds said the star spoke very movingly to the audience in the O2 Arena in South-Easton London about her father, telling them he was the most intelligent man she knew but that he had never learnt to read.

He said: "She told us she decided when she had money that's what she wanted to do with it, make reading accessible for all. I am very passionate about that and have spent my whole career promoting the joys of reading. "I'm not sure people are aware of just how much she has done for literacy in the USA but her scheme is in 40 States and that's quite amazing" said Dodds.


Subscribe to Literacy