Tag Archives: libraries

The power of books and reading

2013-09-29-Bhutan1aI love libraries. I use them all the time.  A young friend last week saw the library book in my hand and kind of sniffed at it, as if it were weird.

But he hasn’t been to a place where books are rare.  He can buy books whenever he wants on his iPad.  And even if you’re like him, I hope you’ll consider the power of libraries, too.

Like a supermarket, a community’s library tells you a lot about a place.  One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had was visiting a READ Global library in Ura, Bhutan–the first library built outside the nation’s capital city, 11 hours from it, in fact.  Kids in this beautiful farming village drank up the library from the moment the doors of the creaky converted farmhouse opened.  One boy told me proudly that he had a small stack of books of his own. They all couldn’t wait to show me their favorite books.

Somehow my infectiousness for the place trickled over to a little girl named Claire, who subsequently helped raise enough money to build another library there.

Here’s the story about her wonderful feat, from adventurer and explorer Richard Bangs on the Huffington Post.

You don’t need to raise enough money to build an entire library.  And the library you support doesn’t have to be half a world away.  But I share this in the hopes you’ll be inspired, like Claire was, to share the power of books and reading.

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From La Jolla to Bhutan and back again: Shangri-La, READGlobal and the importance of libraries

I just got back from a couple days in Shangri-La.  Not that one.  This one is in La Jolla, California, a pretty gorgeous place, made even more amazing by members of the community of La Jolla Country Day School.

A series of bizarre and seemingly random events (sparked by our mutual fascination of Bhutan and our love of reading) led us together.  Now, we’re all working to raise money to build a library in the Kingdom, because libraries are sorely needed–and we all agree that they’re a fundamental part of a great community.

For me it was doubly exciting: they chose Radio Shangri-La as a community read to get everyone in a “Bhutan state of mind.”  (My quotes, not theirs!)  I got to talk with parents, kids of all ages, and spend time with some super-committed educators who make you think: There is hope for the future.  And: Boy do I wish I could go to school here.  (Wish everyone could!)

Some community service team members at LJCDS



I share this because

A. I’d love to do this with your group, too.  So let’s cook something up.  RSL is a tool to inspire discussion about immigration, media impact, globalization, secluded Kingdoms, and even midlife malaise.  All with the bigger message: It’s not about you.  It’s about what you can do to help others.

B. Don’t forget READ Bhutan.

C. How cool it is that an affluent school places such a value on community service–to teach their kids the importance of the greater world beyond their own, and what they can do to participate in making it better.

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Click to support @READGlobal and help build libraries in #Bhutan

Kids at the READGlobal Library in Ura, Bhutan


Announcing: A great promotion from our friends at Books for Better Living.

Click to like their Facebook page and Random House will give a dollar to READGlobal.  READ is the nonprofit for which I and a number of friends have been working to raise money; it’s a great organization that builds libraries in the Himalayas and most recently in Bhutan.   Please spread the word!

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#Refugees, #libraries, #Tucson in July: #Shangri-La

This item in the Tucson paper announces that I’ll be talking about Radio Shangri-La in Tucson in a few weeks but it doesn’t say that the main reason I’m going is to talk to kids who volunteer to work with the large refugee community there, including a growing number of ethnically Nepali people who’ve been relocated to the area.

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