A Summer Reading Program and Its Discontents

Via Gawker a librarian who is sick to death of the same kid always having read the greatest number of books at the summer reading program.

Nine-year old Tyler Weaver calls himself “the king of the reading club” at Hudson Falls Public Library. But now it seems Hudson Falls (NY) Public Library Director Marie Gandron wants to end his five-year reign and have him dethroned. Tyler won the six-week-long “Dig into Reading” event by completing 63 books from June 24 to Aug. 3, averaging more than 10 a week.

He has consistently been the top reader since kindergarten, devouring a total of 373 books over the five contests, according to his mother, Katie.

“It feels great,” said Tyler, an intermediate scholar student at Hudson Falls School. “I think that was actually a record-breaking streak.”

Everyone is so proud of him. Everybody, it seems, but Gandron, who was surprised to learn Katie (his mom) notified a Post-Star reporter about her son being a longtime winner. During a phone call Tuesday to Gandron, the library director said Tyler “hogs” the contest every year and he should “step aside.” “Other kids quit because they can’t keep up,” Gandron said.

Gandron further told the reporter she planned to change the rules of the contest so that instead of giving prizes to the children who read the most books, she would draw names out of a hat and declare winners that way. She said she can’t now because Katie has come forward to the newspaper.

Gandron said she has an “attitude” about the contest because several years ago a little girl came in claiming she had read more than 200 books. Her mother backed her up, but it was discovered the girl was lying.


Go away, kid. You read too much.

If the previous problem with the family lying about how many books their little girl had read is really why Ms. Gandron has an “attitude”, why didn't they change the way they run the contest several years ago? It sounds like this little boy has hit on a pet peeve and she's being incredibly unprofessional about it.

Also, why does Ms. Weaver's story in the newspaper mean they can't change their contest rules? Is Ms. Gandron afraid of being accused of modifying the contest just so Tyler won't have a guaranteed win? If she was trying to avoid coming off as a bully, I think she blew it.

Parks and other organizations have the same problems. Some kids just always win year after year, whether it's in racing or other sports, chess or many other activities. He's won for five years, and is now nine. When he discovers girls one summer a few year from now, someone else will win.

In the meanwhile, let him enjoy his triumphs. Awards for intellectual activities are rare enough, and he does, indeed, deserve accolades and a newspaper article.

Next year, also, you can start a "Beat the Champ" contest that could be fun. And separate the activities by grade levels, so a ten year old does not beat out a nine year old, but the third graders only compete against other third graders. More winners that way, too!

How do you actually prove books have been read? I have always wondered.

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