Part of the What if? series by Kim Moistner-Bartlet
Inspiration and information for the Residence Life professional
American novelist Ray Bradbury once said, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” According to the American Booksellers Association, 58% of Americans will never read another book after they graduate from high school. Shocking? It was to me. For someone who grew up with a love of books and reading, I found this statistic to be most startling. As a child, my family had little in the way of monetary items. My mom, a single parent, worked hard just to put food on the table. Big vacations or travel outside of the state in which we lived were non-existent. My exploration outside of the rural country side where I grew up came by way of books. We didn’t have money to purchase a lot of books, but we did have a library. I practically wore out my library card with the many books I checked out. For me, reading was a way to explore new lands, meet exciting characters and satisfy my curiosity about a range of topics. After graduating from college, professional opportunities gave me the chance to live in all parts of the country. The first place I’d always visit after settling into my new home was the library. Though no longer a child, I was well aware that the library held so many new concepts and ideas for me to explore that could contribute to my success both personally and professionally. Whether I wanted to enhance my leadership skills, learn new strategies for implementing change, or was just interested in new ideas for introducing fun into the workplace — I could learn all about these things and more in a book. For me, books have, and always will be, an open door to new ideas and information.
I may have graduated with my master’s degree years ago, but I continue to be a lifelong learner through the reading that I do. Despite my love of reading, I am well aware that not everyone shares my passion. In fact, I’m reminded of conversations I’ve with students and professionals over the years who told me that they never read books. Many claimed that the need to read a book no longer exists. After all you can just search for a topic on the internet and get a quick answer to a question. Or you can go to a leadership or professional conference and learn new things that way. While those options may offer some great information, I believe that “succeeders” are readers. Unlike a website, a book allows you to explore a topic deeply. It challenges you to open your mind and see things from a new perspective. It enlightens and inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone and implement new concepts and strategies.
Want to be on the cutting edge for the work that you do? Want to motivate yourself to be more and do more? Professional development is right at your fingertips. It’s time to learn something new — through a book. Go ahead; choose a topic, any topic. Now visit your local library or bookstore and find a book that explores the topic of your choice. Yes, you’re busy. Aren’t we all? But, what if you commit to reading a few minutes a day? That’s definitely “doable.” Before you know it you’ll have finished the book and be on your way to putting your new found knowledge to use. The road to success is paved with great books. Let the journey begin.
Kim Moistner-Bartlett – Big Idea Enthusiast & Kimembee Founder
Kim Moistner-Bartlett blended her experiences in business and higher education administration to create Kimembee, a leadership development company. Kim has held positions in First Year Programs and Residence Life at a number of institutions including The University of Southern Mississippi, Temple University, Philadelphia University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has received awards for her innovative presentations, most notably in the area of customer service within higher education. Kim received her Masters Degree from Ball State University and her Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.