Meet marvellous librarian reader leader Maia

How did you get into shared reading & why?

My manager asked if anyone was interested in doing the Reading Revolution training and starting a shared reading group at Mt Roskill Library as we were looking to meet our strategic goals by fostering literacy and community connection in the library. I volunteered to take on the training and start a group as I had worked previously with RR founder Kate and had seen all the amazing mahi she had done with the Reading Revolution in Aotearoa and was keen to get involved!

What do you enjoy about being a Reader Leader?

I love the connections and interesting conversations that arise from discussing a short story or poem in a group. I also enjoy hearing other peoples insights and views on the material that offer fresh new ways of looking at the text no matter how many times I’ve read it previously.

Are there any stories or poems that have stuck with you & why?

Our group really enjoyed Highlight’s by Bill Manhire, a short story written in 1990 and focusing on a holiday taken by a middle aged man and his mother in Rotorua. The detailed descriptions and observations of New Zealand 34 years ago was instantly recognisable to the group and was a great conversation starter on how much has changed in that time and remembering’s of our lives back in the early 1990’s and prior. I have since focused on more NZ authors as the connection to place seems to resonate strongly with the group.

Any reader who’s journey has inspired you in your group?

All the people that make an effort to come to the group and share their experiences and read aloud inspire me. In an increasingly busy and online world it’s really special to connect to people in person. It inspires me that people still make the effort to set the time aside each month to switch off from their other commitments to discuss a short story together.

Tell us more about your community…

Our community is still in its early stages as we have been going for less than a year, but we have slowly been building a group of regulars who tend to be mostly retirement aged women keen to use some of their spare time to meet up and have a chat and share a connection over a story and a hot drink.

Would you recommend becoming a Reader Leader & why?

I would definitely recommend to anyone considering becoming a Reader Leader to do the training and start! It’s super rewarding and a great way to connect to people in your community.

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