Opinion: Lessons learned on National School Library Day

Submitted by Talia Meade – 

National School Library Day began in 2004 and the Canadian Library Association has worked hard at keeping this tradition alive. October 24, 2016 was Library Day at Nepean High School. Teachers, athletes, CEOs, artists, journalists, and politicians all gathered within our red-brick walls to celebrate reading the best way one can – by being read to.

The readers first gathered in the school library where they were welcomed by student hosts, who then accompanied them to their designated classrooms. After a brief  introduction, the guests proceeded to read aloud.

The students sat and listened attentively. Whether you had a Nepean High School teacher reading to you or a local celebrity, the impact was the same. The reading brought new excitement to the joys of books.

Hallie Cotnam, one of the guest readers and field reporter for CBC Radio, stated why reading is so powerful: “It’s a way of going places.” Reading can change your outlook. You gain experience, knowledge, and you feel and see things without having to leave your house.

After the reading, the guests were welcomed to the library of the school for a reception.

CBC Radio reporter, Hallie Cotnam, read W.P. KInsella’s short story, “The Thrill of the Grass,” to Ms. Smid’s yearbook class on Oct. 24 for National Library Day.
CBC Radio reporter, Hallie Cotnam, read W.P. Kinsella’s short story, “The Thrill of the Grass,” to Ms. Smid’s yearbook class on Oct. 24 for National Library Day. Did you know October is Canadian Library Month? Photo by Rebecca Thompson (grade 11).

The focus of Nepean High School’s Library Day was the importance of reading for pleasure. It is nice to be read to. Students are used to silent reading, but occasionally, if you just sit and listen, being read to can be quite calming. Students usually read novels and articles for school because they have to. This day encouraged and brought back the feeling of hearing a story that was purely entertaining. Rather than having to analyse the text, we got to relax and get lost in the words. We are used to reading on our phones, but this day reminded us to pick up a book or read a story, just for the sake of enjoyment.

Library Day succeeded in a number of ways. We had the chance to meet inspiring individuals who took time out of their busy schedules and careers to come sit for the morning and just read. It was an enjoyable break for the guests, teachers, and the students from the chaos going on around us. Maybe this day introduced students to a new book or to an author as well. Regardless, whatever was taken from Library Day was sure to be positive. I know this day prompted reading outside of the classroom in a way it never was before.

Talia Meade is a grade 12 student at Nepean High School.

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