Educators, teachers, and others in the public education system have long complained that our nation's children read too little, preferring to spend time outside playing or inside watching TV, surfing the Internet, or playing video games. They are not entirely wrong. However, what about when a child reads too much? That conundrum has probably never passed anyone's mind, but it has for a certain librarian in upstate New York, and she felt she had to do something about it.
At Hudson Falls Free Library, Marie Gandron, the library's director, runs the annual "Dig Into Reading!" summer reading competti, complete with an anthropomorphic mole character as the mascot. However, the last few years of the competition has caused her great concern over a certain boy's reading habits. For the past five years in a row, nine-year-old Tyler Weaver has won the Dig Into Reading! competition. This year, Tyler read a somewhat unbelievable 63 books for the contest, translating to about a book per day if we assume summer vacation is two months long.
That has put Gandron on edge. Gandron believes that the winning streak is deterring kids from even entering Dig Into Reading! at all. So, in order to facilitate what she believes is improving efforts to get kids to read in the town, Gandron told little Tyler to step out of the competition next year, essentially banning him.
Unfortunately, once this news went public, things got a little hairy. Members of the public complained to library administrators because they thought Gandron was overstepping her authority, and needs to back off Tyler. Even Lita Casey, a library aide, believes that Gandron is out of line for her "attitudes." Tyler, for his part, is angry about the whole thing, and his mother, Katie, has suggested they would head to another library were the competition to move elsewhere.
It is hard to say what to make of this. Yes, there should be merit to be made of children who make the effort to read. But is a competition really the best way to get kids to read over the summer in the first place? It just seems like it leads to this sort of goofy drama. In the end, though, it should not really matter: Eventually, Tyler will be out of the competition due to his age, and then society will balance his victories by mocking and belittling his voracious appetite for books, as is their habit.