As I have been studying and reading journal articles, newspaper articles and literature about the demise of the printed book, I was over the moon to discover that, despite the doom and gloom outlook of economists and book publishing, from my perspective the bookstore is still relevant and still operating today!!!
I have been travelling through the USA with my funny family and while most of the shopping being done is in teenage fashion clothing shops, sports stores and shoe warehouses, we all breathed a collective sigh when we came across the good old, green, Barnes and Noble bookstore.
We weren't in a city, we weren't even in a town. We were driving between New York City and Boston when we found it. This wasn't a pokey, token bookstore; this was the real deal, bookshelf after bookshelf after bookshelf.
As my husband found a park, the teens and the tween started calling out the books they would be looking for.....Game of Thrones, John Green books, basketball books, kids books and many more suggestions and requests that I can't remember them all.
We all piled into the store, braced ourselves and we all went separate ways. Teen 1 went off in search of George R.R. Martin, Teen 2 went straight to teen fiction and then on to the magazines and Tween 1 went to the sports books and then to boys Junior Fiction. My husband mosied over to the biographies and then made his way to the non-fiction "how to make your fortune" books. Sadly for me, I have a Kindle that was loaded up with lots to read, but I am always browsing the picture books for something fun to read to my kids at school.
This Barnes and Noble store was amazing. Beautifully presented and well stocked.
"We don't have anything like this in Australia!" Teen 2 marvelled.
Tween 1 wanted to know why the books were so cheap, and Teen 1 was amazed at the variety and selection available.
Admittedly, America's population is much greater than ours, but I did agree with the kids that the variety of books available was amazing.
In the picture book section, there was a "Special Edition" Mother's Day collection of books, not just about mums, but including books that Mum's the world over have read to their children e.g The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, Ferdinand the Bull, Madeline, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, The Elephant and the Bad Baby....just to name a few. The books were hard cover titles and they were all reasonably priced at $15.
Books in Australia are expensive. It is safe to say that parents are foregoing buying new books for their kids because of this. The school library is becoming more and more important as a hub for learning and information. It is the teacher-librarian's responsibility to promote and provide current literature for every student at their school and promote and provide equitable access to it.
I have written many times before that it is the role of the Teacher Librarian to advocate, advocate, advocate and this is a perfect example of why it is so important.
Let the students, teachers and families know what resources are available in the library. Show teachers and students how to use the resources from the library effectively. Demonstrate to the Principal and School Leaders that the library is THE place to be when it comes to information learning, ICT and literacy.