How Can Book Bloggers Promote Literacy?

Discussion Post

As avid readers, many of us in the book blog community have experienced the transformative power of words in our own lives.  But how can we pass on our love of reading and make books more accessible to others?  Below I have a few suggestions for ways that we in the book community can “pass it on.”

Buy the Books You Enjoy

If you have the money, consider buying copies of the ARCS you received if you enjoyed them and want to see more of the type of work a particular author is doing.  Money is what speaks to businesses, so contributing to the financial success of a book encourages publishers to keep releasing a series, to continue working with a specific author, or to seek out authors who do similar things (such as focus on diversity).

Pirating a book or a textbook is never morally acceptable, even if you think the price of the book is too high.  The money for that book is going towards the people who made it happen–the author, the editors, the marketing team, the art department, etc.  They deserve to be paid for their hard work if you choose to consume it.

Use Your Local Library

No money for books?  No problem.  Check out books from your local library.  Libraries in America are increasingly fighting for funding as they are attacked for being irrelevant and out-of-date.  Every book or DVD checked out is another statistic they can use to ask for more funding and to ensure that their doors stay open for those in our society who don’t have the financial means to buy books, own a laptop, or pay for the Internet at home.  Attending library programs, using their online databases, renewing your library card, or asking a question at the desk are also statistics they can collect to demonstrate patron usage.

Donate Your Books

If you have a lot of books you didn’t like or don’t plan on rereading, consider donating them to a school, a library, a single mothers’ home, or a literacy program.  Find a cause you want to support and contribute.  It may seem odd to those of us who grew up surrounded by books, but some children don’t have books at home and perhaps may not have easy access to a library (even a school one), either.  Some people may love books but may not be able to afford them.  Why shouldn’t we share our bookish wealth with them?

Volunteer

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for book lovers to consider.  You might shelve books or inspect and clean returned materials at your local library.  You might read to children or tutor adults who are learning English.  You might sort through books that have been donated to a local organization or bring library books to patients in a hospital.  Find a cause you care about and donate your time.

Encourage a Love of Reading

We in the blog community know what it feels like to be told that the books we’re reading are trash or aren’t good enough somehow–witness the hate levelled at YA.  These kinds of judgments can be discouraging for readers.  So if you see someone reading a genre you don’t enjoy, a book you hate, or an age range you think inappropriate for them, take a moment to consider how your words might affect them.  If we tell a child he shouldn’t read comics or that he’d better stop listening to audiobooks and start “really” reading, are we taking away the one way he knows how to access literature?  If we tell a girl she shouldn’t be reading “boy” books or that she’s too old or too young for MG, are  we making it seem like reading is no longer a pleasurable activity but yet another way to subject her to potential ridicule and scorn?  Let’s find ways to encourage reading and build people up, rather than make them feel bad about an activity they ought to enjoy.

Be Respectful of Differences

It’s easy to want to correct a person who mispronounces a word when reading aloud, to inform someone that they’ve mangled the poetry with their terrible reading, to point out all the grammar mistakes someone makes when writing.  But not everyone comes from the same background.  Some have had more experience with standard English than others.  Making fun of someone’s reading or writing because they’re not as familiar with words or sentence structure as others discourages these individuals from continuing to try and to keep learning.  After all, who wants to practice reading and writing if they’re just going to be ridiculed for it?  We should be celebrating the efforts of others to read, to write, to learn, and encouraging them in their efforts, not pointing out all the things they did wrong.

What other ways can we promote literacy and a love of books?

Krysta 64

28 thoughts on “How Can Book Bloggers Promote Literacy?

  1. Nandini Bharadwaj says:

    The last two really resonated with me. There’s so much of hate out there, especially in the comments of a book review on Goodreads. It’s one thing to discuss books and another matter entirely to attack readers who liked certain books or the authors.
    Coming from a place where English isn’t the native language, I realise that I may not always be a 100% accurate. Most people around me aren’t either. It’s a huge problem when they are ridiculed and choose not to improve their English.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, people seem to be getting attacked all the time on the Internet! And there’s no need. Does it really matter in the end if someone likes an author and you don’t? I don’t understand why people have to be hateful about it.

      I think people have a tendency to equate good writing with good grammar, and that’s not remotely true. It’s far more important to me that someone have interesting and provocative ideas–who cares if they’re using prepositions that aren’t quite right? And you can always have someone help you edit the grammar. You can’t have someone give you good ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s true, though giveaways may be more cost prohibitive for some. Donating to charities or to the library costs nothing, which is part of the reason I like it. And I go to the library regularly anyway, so it’s quite convenient to give them my old books at the same time. It literally takes almost no effort on my part and yet I’m contributing to a great cause.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Megan @ bookslayerReads says:

        True! But if you’re giving away books you wanna get rid of, then only postage would cost you if you kept it in your country. So just a few dollars, maybe. But still. Definitely understandable. Libraries are awesome of course!

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        • Krysta says:

          True, but since I don’t know everyone’s personal financial situation, I was trying to think of ways to promote literacy that would be essentially free and also convenient. And I personally like to donate my books to places that might give books to children who literally don’t have any or to prisons or other places where individuals truly have difficulty accessing books. I think it’s nice to give back to the blogging community, but anyone who’s blogging about books clearly already has ready access to them. And I don’t feel that giving a book to a book blogger is really promoting literacy (which is the main point of this post rather than how to build a blogging community which a giveaway is more applicable to) since book bloggers clearly already enjoy books.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Victoria says:

    These are really good suggestions! I have a whole heap of books I want to get rid of, and I didn’t realise how many places there are I could donate to. I feel like I just go to the most popular charities! And volunteering is something I’d never thought of either🙂

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    • Krysta says:

      Well, I think it’s sometimes difficult to know who’s looking for donations or volunteers unless you’re already involved with an organization or know someone who is. Most libraries, for instance, accept donations, but they don’t post as much anywhere in the building. You typically have to read the fine print on their website–and who does that?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros says:

    Love this post! As readers, we all know how important, comforting and transformative books can be in a person’s life. These are all such good suggestions – especially using your local library and donating books! I have such a problem getting rid of books, even if I know I’m unlikely to read them again. It’s definitely something I should do more of.🙂

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I sometimes have trouble letting go of books, but it helps that I have limited space in which to store them, so I know that I have to be selective about what I buy and what I keep.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I seriously don’t understand how people think audiobooks aren’t reading?!? It confuses me so much!! It’s still reading! And omg I didn’t realise that checking books out from the library helps increase funding…I am doing my library such favours then.😂 The other week the librarian said I win for most amount of reserves and books borrowed, haha. THIS MAKES ME HAPPY. :’)

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I can understand that if your child has difficulty reading you might want them to practice with a text, but otherwise I don’t see why it’s inherently better to look at words rather than listen to them.

      When it’s time to review the budget and people claim libraries are outdated and shouldn’t receive tax dollars, the libraries roll out the stats to show how many books they checked out, what percentage of the city holds a library card, etc. Of course only people rich enough not to use the library think the library is outdated and that no one goes to it, so the arguments are ridiculous, but libraries do what they must to show just how ridiculous they are.

      Like

  5. TeacherofYA says:

    I hope to promote by reviewing the literature I plan on using in the classroom. If I can get my students to read, that’s part of the battle! I would volunteer at my local library, but any time spent right now that is spare is spent doing homework, working, or reading for my blog (and reading other blogger posts!). I do have a bunch of books I plan on donating to my library!
    Great post!!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      It can certainly be difficult to find time to volunteer. But we can, as you point out, all find different ways to contribute when one way isn’t feasible at the moment! 🙂

      Like

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