He’s a juggler, a storyteller, a chess player, a poet and a novelist. But Michael Sullivan, who will teach educators and graduate students some tricks of the storytelling trade this summer, is also a renowned librarian whose views on boys, books and reading have earned him some recent notoriety.
Sullivan, director of the Weeks Public Library in Greenland, N.H., was recently honored by Library Journal, which publishes a list each year of its picks for the most influential librarians in the country. Sullivan was chosen as one of the magazine’s “2005 Movers & Shakers” for his dedication to getting boys to love reading.
Sullivan believes young readers need to be encouraged to read about subjects they enjoy. For boys, this can mean books about sports, science, adventure and other nonfiction topics rather than typical young adult fiction. For young men, even graphic novels and comic books can instill a love for reading, says Sullivan.
“If you push kids to read what they like, they will read anything,” Sullivan said in an interview with the Union Leader last month.
Sullivan has written a book on the subject, Connecting Boys with Books: What Libraries Can Do. He travels around the country giving lectures and training sessions to educators and library employees on how to meet the reading needs of boys.
Sullivan will teach a graduate class on storytelling this summer through Plymouth State University’s Department of Graduate Studies and Community Outreach. The course will introduce students to the basics of researching, preparing and presenting stories in the oral tradition. Students will also learn how to apply storytelling skills to school and library settings.
To read more about Sullivan’s work in storytelling, literacy and library management, visit www.geocities.com/talestoldtall/