Thursday, May 08, 2008

The ALA Solves Our Educational Problems

The lovely and talented AL Direct tumbled into my mailbox yesterday chock full of fascinating tidbits, but none more fascinating than this. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the READ poster campaign. That in itself isn't the exciting part. The exciting part is quoted with apparent approval in AL Direct:

"The Celebrity READ poster campaign is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment."

Wow! Who knew that these silly posters have such a powerful effect on people. At first, I assumed such a statement was obviously a complete lie concocted by some shameless PR person at ALA. PR people have an arm's length relationship with the truth, so we can expect little from them. But then again, this is the ALA talking here, so we have to take it seriously. Since it's the ALA, and they never lie, I assume a statement as bold as this is backed up by some statistically sound evidence, but nevertheless I wanted to test it for myself.

I ventured from my lair in search of people. Since I work at a university, I figured I could find some students and ask them about it. I cornered three or four of them before they could get away from me, and I asked them why they were here at this university trying to get a good education. They all said the same thing--the celebrity READ poster campaign! They were very enthusiastic. They also volunteered that the poster campaign motivated them to improve their reading skills and read for sheer enjoyment. It was a little spooky the way they all used the same words and stared slack-jawed into space.

At least now we know how to get more people interested in reading and education. We just need to put these posters into every classroom in America, perhaps into every home as well. Then all our problems would be solved.

Thank you, ALA, for being so clever and solving all of our educational problems. Some people talk about class sizes or teacher pay or standardized testing. All we really needed were celebrity READ posters. It makes me feel all warm inside knowing my ALA dues have contributed to so much educational goodness in the world.

35 comments:

kudzuhomecomingqueen said...

Well. Dang. All this time, I thought those little darling children were in my library and at my university to learn something. Either that or their parents kicked them out of the house. Now I find out it is because of the ALA and their multitude of READ posters. Silly me.

grayjaydeb said...

Boy AL... I hate to break it to you, but I don't think that your membership fees subsidized the READ posters. Knowing that the celebrities pose for free... I'm sure that ALA makes a profit on that $16.00 highly educational and inspirational piece of poster sized paper. Now granted as an ALA member you would only pay $14.40, so who knows what that $1.60 may have subsidized...

Merriwyn said...

Where can we get these magical posters? Are there special varieties for boys? As all good school library types must know, boys have special needs when it comes to reading incentives like posters. Perhaps they have a poster of a muscular man and a busty blonde clasped in passionate embrace and reading books over each other's shoulders? I must rush off and get some to put in the bedrooms of our reluctant readers and dimwitted students.
:) Oh AL, as usual you hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

A coworker has a huge, hunky Denzel Washington "Read" poster pointed firmly at her desk...though not where the students can see it and be "inspired". Makes her happy, so I guess it was not a total waste.

Anonymous said...

The scary thing is that with the 2.0 revolution coming soon, the Read posters are going to disappear and in their place will be Mario, Pickachu, Lara Croft, DDR, Guitar Hero etc with the message, PLAY! DANCE! GOOF OFF!

Dances With Books said...

I just want to know when will I be able to buy that Lara Croft poster. Ooh la la. And if they make one with Jill Valentine, that works nicely too to go along with the play and goof off theme (while remaining illiterate).

Anonymous said...

My guess is that it's because "Read" is a short, one syllable word. It's easily pronounced, memorized, and recalled. Once you learn it, it isn't that difficult to recognize it in the context of another poster, despite the presence of a completely different celebrity from a completely different entertainment medium.

I'm hosting a summer reading club this year where we'll tally up the number of Read posters each club member reads. There will be prizes at the end of the summer for "Most Posters Read," "Most Celebrities Recognized," and so on. Grand prize is a free afternoon on our Dance, Dance Revolution set-up.

---Kurt

Anonymous said...

AL, your university is populated by Stepford Children. When mine was that age, she went to university to expand her education into beer and bar crawls. But (bad librarian-mom) I didn't have celebrity READ posters in her room when she was younger, nor did I make her march through the endless SUMMER READING PROGRAMS. She swam through the beer (and later, gin) to become a fairly sober, functioning, WORKING adult. What would have happened if she'd had READ posters? I shudder to think.

Minks said...

I always make it a point to mispronounce the READ poster. I say "re-add" very slowly at first, the speed up the mispronunciation for humorous effect.

What that ALA meant to say is that Celebrities endorsing ANYTHING helps that thing.... whatever that thing happnes to be. Wether it be Nike Shoes, fancy underpants, or Staying off drugs. Whatever.

In this case, it is re-adding and Edu-mah-cation.

The masses are easily swayed... if a semi-literate celebrity says reading is cool,,, lots of semi-literate people are gonna give it a shot.... or at least not be peer pressured away from it. .... because we all knew/know those who think reading is for dorks.

Fabulist said...

WAIT! You want me to read something that isn’t digital . . . off my cell phone or blackberry? Can’t you just text me the summation of the poster. You know “C leb saz RD OMG!” Makes me glad that my public library has actual paintings and sculptures – have had for over 30 years. I was just in there last night and can’t remember seeing anything like a “read” poster, but there were at least a dozen new paintings on the walls (they rotate them) and a display of ceramics. Not forgetting the HUGE stained glass windows in the children’s area – of fairy tales. Oh and all the books.

Anonymous said...

Wait, Karim Abdul-Jabbar? Man, they've discovered a time machine to take them back to when he was popular with kids?

Brent said...

If Emmitt Smith did a READ poster, I'd buy it. That would be proof ALA has a sense of humor.

\bvb said...

Marilyn Manson

'nuff said

Anonymous said...

Lame, AL. Why so mean-spirited? Kids and school librarians both enjoy these things, and they help cover the institutional beige paint job over cinder block that otherwise makes school libraries indistinguishable from prison cafeterias.

Anonymous said...

I suuget that you have, as one of your blogs, a LIBRARY version of the following;

----------
Comedy Central, Attell bang 'Gong'
Network to revive classic gameshow in July
By CYNTHIA LITTLETON

Chuck Barris' original 'Gong Show' aired in NBC daytime from 1976-78.


Comedy Central is reviving Chuck Barris' "The Gong Show," with comedian Dave Attell as host.
Cable net has ordered eight half-hour segs of the skein, which is set to premiere July 17. "The Gong Show" will air weekly at 10:30 p.m. in tandem with new reality TV spoof "Reality Bites Back" at 10.

Gameshow vet Andrew Golder will exec produce "The Gong Show" for Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Prods. and Sony Pictures TV, which owns the Barris canon.

Like the original, the new-model "Gong Show" will feature a revolving panel of celebrity judges weighing in on eight to 10 offbeat amateur acts in each episode.

Original skein, which aired from 1976-78 on NBC's daytime lineup and in primetime syndication from 1976-80, was hosted by producer Barris and featured such regulars as Gene-Gene the Dancing Machine (aka one of the show's stagehands) and the Unknown Comic (aka a guy with a paper bag on his head). A syndie revival had a short run in the 1988-89 season.

Attell is known to Comedy Central auds for hosting the series "Insomniac With Dave Attell." Late last year he toplined an HBO spesh, "Captain Miserable."

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have Kareem than an elf from Lord of the Rings. Somehow I could not see Galadriel and the lot pouring over a heavy tome (unless, of course, it was a spell book).

hck said...

How to get such a poster with the AL on it?

Anonymous said...

Lame, AL. Why so mean-spirited?

Come on, put those MLS-enhanced information literacy skills to work. AL's piece here isn't attacking the (vaguely Orwellian) READ posters themselves, but is instead highlighting the fact that ALA leaders think the posters are vital to the well-being of our democracy rather than being a pleasant bit of kitsch.

Anonymous said...

Come on, put those MLS-enhanced information literacy skills to work. AL's piece here isn't attacking the (vaguely Orwellian) READ posters themselves, but is instead highlighting the fact that ALA leaders think the posters are vital to the well-being of our democracy rather than being a pleasant bit of kitsch.

Thanks for clearing that up for us. I never had the Read! posters up in my school so I am a bit of the idiot librarian and need a nanny to 'splain stuff to me.

Again, thanks!

Anonymous said...

We put up Common's READ poster for National Library Week.

Most students asked us when he would be appearing at the library but there was at least one student that actually asked for the Obama book featured.

Totsi Mantrumpet said...

I was seriously kind of offended several weeks ago when on the ALA homepage there was a graphic of a READ poster featuring Johnny Damon--in a RED SOX uniform. He's been playing for NY for three years now. I don't know, maybe that's too nitpicky of me, but baseball isn't exactly outside the realm of mainstream interest and/or knowledge. I guess I just feel they should try a littler harder if they're going to go the "celebrities pimping books" route.

And on the HOMEPAGE!

We have a READ poster around here somewhere with Missy Elliot--not on the wall. I definitely could never bring myself to hang up a poster that will start the words to that "Is it worth it? Lemme work it" song through my head every time I pass it at work.

Absurd.

We've got an LA Law era Jimmy Smits poster floating around somewhere, too.

Anonymous said...

Having never joined ALA, I'll probably be sent to purgatory for this, but did those university students get their glazed look from something Kareem Al-Cinder smoked that came rolled in the poster? The Crook Librarian.

Anonymous said...

AL's piece here isn't attacking the (vaguely Orwellian) READ posters themselves, <

Once again, AL sets up a straw man and waits for the predictable response from her easily confused fan base. If you put on your own MLS-enhanced literacy skills thinking cap and follow the article, you'll see that this comes not from ALA site but from Abdul-Jabbar's home page, posted by Abdul-Jabbar himself. Who knows who actually wrote it? A quick search on key phrases from the release show that pretty much the only web sites running it are housed on NBA.com plus a few blog sites that reference them. It doesn't show up in ALA's list of press releases. A quick and dirty literature review on the Read Campaign and queries against the ALA web site itself show that ALA hasn't really ever said much at all about the Read Campaign, other than touting it as a marketing tool for local literacy programs and library promotion. So, what's the point of all this except to prove that martinis really do make you mean?

Anonymous said...

... busted.

boobarella said...

I have to say I did steal two READ posters form my high school: Sting's and Patrick Stewart's.

And I would do it again!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Where does Fabulist get the neat rotating pictures from? I hope they're rotating along a horizontal axis, it saves all those embarassing "honey I hung the abstract upside down" moments.

\bvb said...

I will SO buy that Patrick Stewart poster of you!

(Yeah, the posters are really only worth fan status.)

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DearReader said...

Anonymous 12:22 said:
The scary thing is that with the 2.0 revolution coming soon, the Read posters are going to disappear...


ALA's READ software (which allows anyone to make a READ poster) makes it possible for READ posters to be 2.0. See how au courant the ALA is? There could even be an Annoyed Librarian READ poster, if we could get a photo of the mysterious AL.
Although I'm a children's librarian and more susceptible to ALA goodies, there are no READ posters on display in the children's room here.

Anonymous said...

dearreader

The Annoyed Library 2.0 does not want read posters. They want Gaming! posters. They want Play! posters. Read? Get real. Libraries 2.0 are going to have massive book burnings to get rid of unwanted paper and give room for more networked PS3 units.

WIIIIIIII, the revolution is coming.

nolajazz said...

FACTS (with some opinion):
i am a librarian.
i love ALA for what they did in New Orleans post-Katrina.
i love AL for her humor & not taking the world of libraries as seriously as some librarians think it should be.
orlando bloom is ridiculously good-looking.
the READ posters are designed for adults who think they are in touch with today's kids & teens.
today's kids & teens already know that librarians want them to READ.

Th Chandos said...

When I beheld the READ Poster, "Vanquish Ignorance", featuring Lucy (née Ryan) Lawless as 'Xena, Warrior Princess' with a scroll, I was so inspired that now I read real good.

Thanx, ALA, Lucy, et alia…

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that our Orlando Bloom READ poster was stolen from our main hallway within 48 hours of being put up there.

lola said...

I'd kill for READ poster with the Karate Kid on it.

Matthew said...

Awwww... AL, you missed it by a hair. Yes this statement should be mocked but not because it is incorrect (which it isn't) but rather meaninglessly true (which is often mistaken for incorrect.

The phrase "one of the most" attributed to anything will ALWAYS be technically true. Even the smallest book of 15 books is "one of the largest" if you're looking at the 15 largest. And this kind of description of something is much easier to get away with if you're talking about a set of unknown size such as "effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment."

Please go back to your mocking, er, drawing board and try again.

Thanks AL, for your tireless gadfly-like efforts to stir, um, STUFF up, but sometimes it's a bit of a stretch. I mean, what's really your intention here? To say that the ALA PR and admin people are using meaningless marketing-speak? Woah. Alert the media. It just comes out sounding like you are against the READ posters. You're not, right? You do agree they're somewhat useful, right? I hope you're not wearing your AL-hat too tight. Don't work so hard... Take a break now and then, ok? I worry about you sometimes.