A New York Librarian by the name of Lita Casey was recently fired from her position as a children’s librarian. While she was not given a reason for this, it is highly speculated that it was due to her support of nine-year-old, Tyler Weaver. Tyler Weaver has won their summer reading contest five years in a row, managing to read 63 books in the six week period. The former library director went on record, saying that Tyler “hogs” the contest and should “step aside” and let other children have a chance. Lita Casey remained supportive of Tyler and refused to comply to the former library director’s opinion. Lita said that it was all about the hard work, and compared it to her granddaughter, a track star, saying ” My granddaughter started working on track in grade school and ended up being a national champ. Should she have backed off and said, ‘No, somebody else should win?'” She worked for the library for 28 years.
There is SO much wrong about this. SO much wrong.
First off, when do we discourage a kid for READING? And reading TOO much? Is that even a thing? Reading is such an essential part of life. You need to be a good reader. You don’t need to actually enjoy reading, and cuddle up with a novel often but you need to have the skill of a good reader to get jobs and to just be a knowledgable person. Its just part of life. And kids more and more are having issues with reading, and it becomes a challenge to make sure that kids gain those skills. Here we have a kid who obviously loves reading and shows a skill with it. 63 books in six weeks? That’s fantastic, and I’m proud of this kid.
So how we can NOT discourage a child to read? How can we not applaud his accomplishments? Is that the sort of world that we live in? I refuse to believe that we are living in a world that applauds mediocrity and doesn’t give credit where credit is due. This nine-year-old worked his BUTT off and he deserves for people to see that! For someone in an authority position to say that he “hogs” the competition is just rude, inconsiderate and cutting, and it is completely unfair to say to a child.
Which leads me to this: the criticism coming toward this child is completely unfair in general. Think about this: its not Tyler’s fault that he reads faster or with better skill and comprehension than other children anymore than its another’s child’s fault that their skills or speed are slower. I’m a fast reader. I’ve already ready 140 books this year. While that’s not the most that I’ve seen on GoodReads, it is definitely higher than most people that I know, especially of those who do really love reading. I read very fast, I have a high comprehension skill and I spend a lot of time reading. There are many times, almost daily, that people ask me, “how do you that? how do you read so fast?”
And you know what my answer is 100% of the time. “I don’t know.” Because I honestly don’t know. I just do. How do you read slow? That’s just the reading skill that you have, that’s how you read. When I read, I read extremely fast. I can’t really explain it, and I’m not going to slow down so that people can keep up with me. If I see friends of mine on their challenges and they are at forty books, I commend them for that, but I am not going to slow down. I’m proud of being a fast reader. Its not really the most useful skill in the world but I am proud of it. Its something that I am good at the way that my brother Robby is a talented athlete, my sister and brother are talented artists. It is a SKILL that some people are going to be good at and others just aren’t.
Tyler is a good reader, a fast one, and he worked hard to get where he wanted, and he won the contest. He won the contest five years in a row. He worked hard for this, and he deserved the awards that he got for it. As a person who has always really fast, and well above my age level, I understand where this kid is coming from. I’ve been doubted SO many times. I’ve gotten in trouble for reading too much, or reading books above my age level, because they don’t believe that I’ve read that much or read that maturely, and it is incredibly frustrating. It is incredibly frustrating for doing all that work, and having the doubt or the disbelief or even just the hate thrown your way.
Which leads me to the librarian, Lita Casey. Why is a woman getting fired for doing her job? As a librarian, especially a children’s librarian, your job is to encourage reading and to do everything you can to facilitate that sort of environment. She is there to assist in all reading needs and in a children’s section, she would be there to instill a love of reading. How can you fire her for doing EXACTLY that? She obviously could see that Tyler had a love of reading and she was doing the right thing by applauding this boy’s accomplishments. I feel like its the same way a coach would applaud his fastest runner, the most skilled quarterback, etc. Lita wasn’t sitting there and telling the other kids that they weren’t good enough. She encouraged the other readers just as much as she did Tyler, she just recognized the accomplishment that he did.
The way I see it is this: I would never sit here and tell my brother, “you know what, you’re hogging the competition. You win too many cross country races, and you should step aside to let someone else have a chance.” That is ridiculous. No one would ever tell an athlete to step aside because they’re winning too much. Kind of a random example but Jimmie Johnson, the NASCAR driver, won five championships in a row. Now while this was kind of annoying, what could I really say to that? Nothing. Jimmie Johnson drove his ass off and he deserved the championship that HE earned, and I would sit here and be like, “stop being such an awesome race car driver, Jimmie, its not fair to the rest.” No, if the other drivers want to win a championship, if other runners want to win a race, if other readers want to win the contest, they are going to do the work needed to accomplish this task.
I’m not going to enter myself into a cross country race, and complain that someone else always wins. I am NEVER going to be a good runner, and that’s okay. I stick to reading. I think that these kids should always be encouraged to love reading, and should always be helped in reading, especially if they show interest in it, but Tyler read the most and he won and that’s that. And Lita Casey did the right thing by encouraging him.
Okay. Rant over.