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Follow the Reader

When I was a college student in West Michigan my landlord had a single bumper sticker on the back of her car that read, “Follow the Reader.” I wouldn’t have defined myself as a reader at the time, at least not a dedicated or voracious one, but I was beginning to fall in love with books. During those years I acquired my first adult library card and took my first trips to the Grand Rapids Public Library for pleasure, as opposed to frequenting the library for a required research assignment. I’d pass hours browsing book displays on the weekend, inevitably coming home with more books than I’d be able to read. I aspired to be the reader my landlord’s bumper sticker spoke of.


It's no surprise that the phrase “follow the reader” is a play on the popular saying “follow the leader.” Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”


In a 2022 Forbes article, Michael Lee, President and CEO at FinDec, argues that successful leaders are avid readers. From presidents to successful entrepreneurs and renowned CEOs, Lee’s theory suggests that great leaders are great readers. It’s no secret that the more you read, the more you know.


And I’d like to add that the more you read, the more you want to read. Since my initial infatuation with books in college, I have grown to love reading more and more each year. In my experience, it has been a bit like forming a habit or practicing something over and over again. The more we do it, the better we get, and the closer we come to forming daily habits. We may even learn to enjoy it! That’s the truth for my reading journey.


As we enter January you might be setting some 2024 reading goals. Perhaps you want to read more, or you are aiming for a specific number of books to read this year. Perhaps you want to join a book club or branch out of your typical genre and explore something new.


Or perhaps you’re up for a bit of a challenge. This year the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. As part of our year-long celebration series, we’re kicking off the new year with a reading challenge called “50 Books for 50 Years.” This challenge presents patrons with the opportunity to read 50 books throughout the course of the year. Reading logs for this challenge are available at the library. Finishers will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of several Wickson Library prize baskets. This contest is for high school students and up. Prizes will not be drawn until the end of the year.


I’ve never kept track of how many books I’ve read in one year, but I do know that since I’ve come to love reading, I read more and more books with every passing year. And this year I’m aiming for 50!


What about you? What are your 2024 reading goals? Where will your literary journey take you? As our library celebrates 50 years and prepares to enter 50 more, we have a hunch that our readers will be the leaders who guide us along the way. Follow the Reader!

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