Chapter Review: from Reader Development in Practice

IN BOOK REVIEW OF: Hornby S, Glass B (Eds). Reader Development in Practice: Bringing literature to readers. London: Facet Publishing, 2008.

CHAPTER 5 Getting Into Reading, Jane Davis.

“Davis writes a stand-out piece on her creation of a project called ‘Get Into Reading’. Get into Reading (GIR) started on a £500 grant, targeted people from the deprived areas of the Wirral and it gave them a venue in which to read for pleasure. It is Davis’ frank retelling of her mother’s fascination with books and her own chaotic young life that suggests the only route for her was to create such a project. Groups have different target members-one group called ‘Feel Better with a Book’ is for mental health service users, another called ‘Book Break’ is for carers. The chapter concludes with several interviews with GIR participants and staff. I would imagine that the resultant glowing evaluation is priceless when it comes to the continuation of funding. In her closing remarks, Davis emphasizes the need for a social space to talk and share enjoyment in books:

Few people are conscious of a need to share conversations about the stuff contained in great books…As one of our first beneficiaries said to me, ‘You need it, but you don’t know you need it.’ We are more aware of our need as a series of negatives: people feel depressed, feel disconnected, see ‘nothing out there’ and feel a library is ‘not for me’…” (p. 93)

I hope those in public libraries will take up Davis’ challenge and start a weekly book group.

Development is well worth reading. However, Francis Bacon’s advice applies here. Many chapters are only to be “tasted”, while a few should be “chewed and digested” (quoted from his essay Of Studies) – my selections are Davis’s chapter and another by Sambell, a fascinating look at futuristic fiction for youth and its increasing complexity since the 1980s.

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From Worster Danielle , Information Officer, British Heart Foundation. Book review. P.16. Health Libraries’ Group Newsletter, Vol 26, Number 1, March 2009, ISSN 02666-853X

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