For three years during my undergrad, my homework every day was to read amazing literature. I got my degree in French and Quebec Literature at Université Laval and I would easily read over 20 books in one semester as part of my required reading. I never once complained about all the books I had to read (although admittedly I did complain about the essays I had to write following my readings). Now that I am a librarian one might assume that I get to read all day. However as other librarians know this is unfortunately completely untrue. In fact it is extremely difficult to be a librarian when you are a huge fan of reading because every day you are surrounded by amazing books that are crying out to be read but you must concentrate on responsibilities such as serving users, organizing events, and promoting the library. Who has time to read?
The past few weeks, I have made more of a point to spend my free time reading certain books. I am running two Hackmatack books clubs for preteens (one in English and one in French). Obviously as the leader of the book club, I need to have read the books that we’ll be discussing. Also last week I attended the award ceremony for the Prix Littéraire Antoinine-Maillet Acadie-Vie, a literary award that recognizes outstanding literature by Acadian authors. I felt obligated to read the shortlisted nominated titles especially since I knew that I would be meeting the authors at the cocktail reception and I wanted to be able to say that I’d read their books. I was extremely pleased that Mme Françoise Enguehard won for her novel L’archipel du docteur Thomas. I found this novel to be beautifully written and I wholeheartedly agreed that it deserved to win the award! Of course not all of my reading has been work related. One of my guilty pleasures was that I “had” to read Mini-Shopaholic, the new Sophie Kinsella novel as soon as my order arrived before shipping it off to the Regional Office to be catalogued. Luckily Sophie Kinsella is pure brain candy and I was able to finish it within a few days.
Often I have heard library school students and librarians lament about their lack of time to actually sit down and read. One of the best ways to keep reading is to join or run your own book club or have a reading buddy with whom you can share what you are reading. Despite our mountain of other responsibilities, I believe that reading a lot contributes to becoming a better librarian. The more books you have read the better you will be at readers’ advisory, an essential library service. Also, it helps to keep one grounded in what many people believe is one of the cornerstone responsibilities of libraries: the proliferation of a passion for reading.