When the students of Mundelein High School in Mundelein, Illinois returned to school from winter break there was something different about the hallways of the English department.
Six floor-to-ceiling vinyl prints of book covers had been installed while they were away in the hopes that it would encourage students to talk more about their reading life.
School spokesman Ron Girard says that the project was intended to “get students talking about the reading that they do” and has succeeded in that in addition to talking books in class “now the chatter among students even takes place in the hallways when they see images of books they have read.”
The six books chosen where Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; Beartown by Fredrik Backman; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman; Born to Run by Christopher McDougall; and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Kiely Brendan.
It’s no secret that a healthy portion of books in the home leads to more good things happening to the kids that live and grow up there.
In his 2010 piece, Home Libraries Provide Huge Educational Advantage, Tom Jacobs of Pacific Standard alerted us to a comprehensive study that made clear that “the presence of book-lined shelves in the home — and the intellectual environment those volumes reflect — gives children an enormous advantage in school.”
Now, eight years later, Jacobs is back at it with the results of a new study that confirms that not only do books furnish a room but they continue to be a leading indicator of improved performance in a range of areas. The study features surveys of adults (ages 25 to 65) in 31 nations.
“Growing up with home libraries boosts adult skills…beyond the benefits accrued from parental education, or [one’s] own educational or occupational attainment,” the researchers report.
They also found that “growing up with few books in the house was associated with below-average literacy rates, while he presence of around 80 books raised those rates to the mean. Literacy continued to increase with the number of reported books up to around 350, at which point it flattened out.”
So the question now is – how do we get at least 80 books in every home!
Home Libraries Confer Long-Term Benefit
This August eight unique artist created libraries will grace the streets of Indianapolis. Under the moniker of The Public Collection these amazing micro libraries will be spread over the city and offer free books courtesy of the Indianapolis Public Library.
The Public Collection is a blend of art and literacy. The goal is to “increase access to books through the use of functional pieces of art in familiar settings. The initiatives are to improve literacy, foster a deeper appreciation of the arts, and raise awareness for educational justice in the community.”
Tom Torluemke, model for “Cool Books, Food for Thought” (2015)
The Public Collection was developed by artist Rachel M. Simon, with support from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation. As Simon tells Hyperallergic “Libraries are sacred institutions, and the value of physical books is timeless…The need and desire for physical books and libraries will always exist” and with The Public Collection Simon offers us a powerful one-two punch with a slate of appealing venues and greater access to books.
Katie Hudnall, model for “Untitled” (2015)
Kimberly McNeelan, model for “Evolution of Reading” (2015)
Brose Partington, model for “Untitled” (2015)
Borrowing Books from Sculptural Micro-Libraries | Hyperallergic
The Public Collection website