Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Boys and their Books

Getting boys to read has been a problem for many librarians and classroom teachers over the years.  I have experienced this problem in my own life as well. I have a 15 year old brother who is somewhat of a reluctant reader.  I have tried for many years to find books that would engage his interest by exploring things he enjoys, and there have been quite a few hits and misses over the years, but I believe that I have finally struck gold.  Zach recently attended a hunting camp in the South Hills in order to earn his hunting license, and he talked about the camp nonstop after it was over.

The week after, I happened to be walking past the Pitt bookstore in Oakland and saw How to Live in the Woods by Sam Martin and Christian Casucci displayed in the window.  I glanced at it, did an about face, and immediately went in and purchased the book.  It details ways of preserving your food, building the perfect camp fire, sustaining animal attacks, etc. It was the perfect book for my budding hunter.  I gave it to Zach that evening.  SUCCESS!! He has read it nonstop since he got it, and my mom said that he plans on trying to construct a survival shelter in our backyard.  I told her at least he is reading!!

But how do we as librarians find out what a particular boy wants to read? I am lucky that I am Zach's sister; I live with him and learn his interests, likes and dislikes, and can suggest appropriate books. But say a boy comes into your library and tells you he needs a book to do a report on for class, or his mother is making him participate in Summer Reading Club but he doubts there are any books that are "cool" in the library.  How should you respond?

Well, we have been working on a Boys in Your Library wiki page that will hopefully give you some great ideas on resources for boys.  Check it out, and give us your own suggestions for how to help boys in the library!  Maybe you have an "aha!" moment of when you helped a particular boy out, or have found a series that boys love.  Let us know!! Collaboration is the key to serving patrons of all kinds, and boys need that extra push into the wonderful world of reading.