Jason Reynolds calls school libraries “places of recognition for young people” in new PSA

A new public service announcement featuring New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds is now available from AASL as part of the 2018 celebration of School Library Month! In the PSA, Reynolds speaks to how school libraries are places of refuge and recognition for students who want to feel less alone. School librarian professionals and advocates for school libraries are encouraged to download and share the PSA throughout their communities in celebration of School Library Month.

Reynolds is the bestselling author of “Ghost,” “Patina,” “Long Way Down,” and “Miles Morales: Spider-Man.” He writes on his website that he knows there are a lot of young people who hate reading, mostly out of boredom. His plan? To not write boring books and to aim the books towards the non-believers.

“To write for kids, you’re taking on a certain load,” Reynolds explained in an October 2017 interview with CBS News. “If I’m writing these books and I’m saying that I love them and I’m saying that I care for them, to me, it’s important that they see me, that they see what I look like, that they see how I speak. We talk about rap music and Jordans and we dance, and at the end of all of that, they say, ‘Yo, I like this guy. I’m gonna read these books.'”

Reynolds’s all-in philosophy works. At the 2018 Youth Media Awards presented at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Reynolds’s book “Long Way Down” received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a King Author Honor. The audiobook for “Long Way Down,” narrated by Reynolds, was named an Odyssey Honor Audiobook.

“In full disclosure, the library wasn’t a place I frequented in school,” said Reynolds. “But if I were in school today I’d practically live there, because there’s a good chance the coolest person in the building works where the books are. Not only can the school librarian help to curate a comfortable and welcoming space for all students, not only can they usher them to a vast array of books and reference materials, librarians also usually have the ability to connect with students on a personal level, because, well, they’ve read the most stories, which makes their potential for empathy and openness ceiling-less.”

“Jason Reynolds is the voice of a generation,” said Jillian Ehlers, School Library Month committee chair. “He has captivated and inspired students and librarians across the country. His commitment to making reading cool, creating literature in which students see themselves, and advocating tirelessly on behalf of school librarians is only part of the reason why we are so honored to have him as our spokesperson. Thank you, Jason, for this beautiful PSA and for recognizing school libraries as safe spaces where students can grow and make connections.”

Observed in April and sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), School Library Month celebrates school libraries as approachable, equitable, and personalized learning environments necessary for every student’s well-rounded education.

Author: Jen Habley

Jen Habley is the AASL Manger of Web Communications. She manages the AASL websites, writes press releases, coordinates AASL’s online learning opportunities, and oversees AASL’s web 2.0 tools. When not working, Jen spends time researching her family tree, reading, and watching hockey.



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