Today's article, the third in the series, is based on a recent interview with Phil Bradley, a librarian and Internet consultant. He teaches effective internet search techniques and social media. An author of 12 books about the Internet, he provides us with interesting advice about promoting children's reading habits.
How long have you been a librarian? Why did you choose this career?
I decided that I wanted to become a librarian when I was 13. Someone said ‘is it because you like books?’ to which my answer was ‘no, I want the power’. Librarians are powerful people because they can find things no-one else can, and all the other professions have to come to us.
Where are you currently working as a librarian?
I’ve never actually worked as a librarian in a library. I’ve worked as a reference librarian in a multinational firm, head of technical support for a CD ROM publisher, and for the last 20+ years I have been a freelance internet consultant.
Where you always a librarian at this establishment?
I don’t believe in staying in the same role in the same organization. The longer you do, the more likely you’ll end up in a rut and stop learning and being effective.
What is your role in the educational system as a librarian?
As a consultant I spend a lot of my time teaching librarians, researchers, museums staff, archivists, school teachers and so on. I focus on social media and internet search skills.
How important do you feel that a librarian and teacher work together to enhance students’ education?
It’s absolutely vital that they work in combination; the more students use a library, understand how to find information and can manipulate the internet, the more effective they will be.
How important do you feel it is that students take time to visit a library?
It’s vital to gain a good knowledge and understanding of how libraries work if they want to be successful.
How important do you feel it is that students take time to read?
If you don’t read, you can’t learn and understand. Read widely, read everything and anything.
What technologies do you feel are important in helping children remain enthusiastic and interested in reading?
Any technology! Print, paper, tablets, phones, augmented reality, virtual reality. The technology is second in importance to the activity of reading.
Do you have any tips that students should keep in mind when they visit a library?
Enjoy it, don’t be overwhelmed or scared by all the books! Each and every one of those books is a potential friend, and one of them just might change your life. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it. You should not feel that you have to finish something that you’ve started. Put it down, and try something different.
Do you have any tips for parents to help encourage their children who may not be as enthusiastic in choosing to read a book?
Read with children. Find things that they like on television or in the world around them, and then find books that match those interests. Don’t’ make reading a chore, it should be fun. Make sure that your children see you reading as well. The more that they realise that reading is a normal part of everyday life, they more likely they are to just do it themselves as a natural and normal activity.
Can you name some books that you would currently recommend to students to read and why?
Not really. It depends on what interests students have. What one student likes another will hate, and that’s fine. Don’t feel that you have to read the classics; if they don’t ‘speak’ to you, it’s a pointless exercise. Read something that you like; romance, war, zombies, doesn’t matter what as long as you enjoy it. Try lots of different things as well. If you don’t like it, move on, try something different.
If one of our readers wished to get in touch with you, how may they do so?
Any motivational bits of advice that you would like to pass on to the readers of this article?
Books are your friends. They can comfort you when you’re down, excite you, make you laugh and make you cry. They are the best company in the world when you’re at home, travelling, waiting for something to happen. They will open your eyes to other worlds, other cultures, other ideas. They will challenge you, and make you think. There is, I promise, a book out there that is written just for you, and it will change your life. You just have to find it and enjoy that journey!
I hope you enjoyed reading through Mr. Bradley's insights. I would like to publically thank him for taking the time to share his thoughts about this topic. If you would like to read more from Mr. Bradley you can visit his blog - Phil Bradley's Website
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