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From The Desk Of The Parker Library Director: "What's Your Four?"

Jul 18, 2018 03:58PM ● By Theresa Gilman

What's Your Four?

Parker Library Director, Nanci Hill

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by the Dracut Library.)

Reading just four books over the summer helps kids achieve academic success, that's why the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), is asking residents "What's Your Four?" First Lady of the Commonwealth Lauren Baker has already posted her four, and many more are expected to do the same. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser and many others all shared their "four" last summer to encourage children, teens, and adults to spend time reading during the summer months."

Research shows that children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one book or less [1] Summer reading has also been proven to help prevent the summer slide, which "accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower income students and their middle- and upper-income peers"[2]

"Seeing what others are reading is not only fun, it is also encouraging, especially for young people" said MBLC Chair Mary Ann Cluggish. "Having role models displaying their interest in reading has a positive impact on all residents of the Commonwealth."

Participants are asked to select four books they plan on reading over the summer months, and post them to social media with a picture of them reading using the hashtag "WhatsYourFour?" Readers are also encouraged to tag their friends in the post to ask them to participate as well. Together, these posts will show people from all over Massachusetts sharing in the fun of reading, and will encourage children and teens to read this summer. Last summer, over 550 books were recommended through 408 posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Massachusetts Summer Library Programs are held at local public libraries across the Commonwealth. In addition to hosting reading programs, libraries provide a variety of other events for local residents including story times, author talks and concerts. On average, 350 libraries offer statewide summer reading each year with over 400,000 participants of all ages. Children, teens and adults who are interested in taking part in a summer library program or the "What's Your Four?" initiative can find more information at

[1] Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap, Jimmy Kim, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2004.

[2] Why Summer Matters in the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap, Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Frazen, August 2009.

Here at the Parker Library, the staff is getting involved with sharing their #WhatsYourFour.  You can see mine in the photo above.  They include The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, Open House by Elizabeth Berg, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian, andYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

Laura Sanscartier, our Head of Technical Services, has also posted her four.  They include  The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry, Calypso by David Sedaris, More Fool Me by Stephen Fry, and The Lady Traveler's Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander.

Circulation Library Technician Amy Spence lists her four as Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell, The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf, and Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.

Technical Services Library Assistant, Amanda McAvoy plans on reading Amerika by Frans Kafka,Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, and The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

If these titles aren't enough to inspire you, you can always check out the "Staff Picks" display in our lobby.  This month's "Staff Picks" are brought to you by Circulation staff members, Catie Riordan and Joan Powers. Check them out!

As always, I am available to meet and talk with you.  This is your library and we want to hear what you think! 
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