Making Reading Cool Among Our Circles of Influence

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

When I was a kid, I didn't collect too many things. I remember for a while trying to collect tiny ceramic cats. I know, surprise, surprise. Apparently once a cat lover, always a cat lover. (I confess to currently having 4 cats!) At one point, I also tried having a stamp collection. But neither the ceramic cats nor the stamp phase lasted.

Of course I also collected books. When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite trips of the year was when my family would go to the bookstore, and my parents would buy me a book or two–even when finances were tight. It was always such a special day, visiting the bookstore, eating out, and going to the candy shop afterward.

As a result, over the years, I developed a decent collection of books.

When I finally had my own home, my mom politely asked me to take my boxes of books with me. And to this day, some of those books still sit on my shelves–books like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Ballet Shoes, Little House on the Prairie, and the whole Anne of Greene Gables series.

Yes, reading was definitely cool in my family. Not only did my parents make book-buying special, my mom loved to read aloud to my brothers and me, and she was an avid reader herself (and still is!). Her attitude by and large set the tone for reading being a fun and enjoyable activity.

The current climate toward reading in our culture is in limbo. Even though statistics seem to show that people are still buying books and reading, the competition for the time and attention of readers is being devoured by media.

With the growth of social media, along with the explosion of video games, movies, and television, our culture could end up being lured away from the printed word and drawn increasingly further into the world of media entertainment. (I cited the statistic in a blog post last week that  Americans over the age of two now spend an average of 32 hours a week watching television.)

However, I try not to lose hope when I think about all the things competing for the attention of readers. Instead, I remind myself that I can be like my mom. I can have an attitude about reading that sets the tone for my family, friends, and followers. I can get excited about books and reading and pass on my love of the written word to people in my spheres of influence.

In fact, that's one of my goals with Pinterest. I have boards that promote reading: I Love Reading, Reading Humor, Bookshelf Fantasies, Fascinating Book Art, Stuff for a Book Geek, and more. I also try to share cool reading and book pictures on my Author Facebook Page.

Ultimately, through all my social media sites, I want to share my love of books and have the attitude that reading is cool.

Think about the reading revolution we could start if ALL of us who love books began to promote reading to all our friends, family, and followers! We have the capability to make a difference, to pass on the love of reading to others, and to ensure that our culture is not lured away from books.

We who love books can lead the charge in making reading cool for this current generation.

Was reading COOL for you when you were growing up? Have you thought about ways you can help promote a love of books and reading to your circles of influence?

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