Small town librarian starts meanspirited feud with 9-year-old boy
The boy consistently wins the summer reading challenge by, well, reading more than everyone else. The librarian, who clearly has escaped into our dimension from a YA novel, has decided that effort and following the rules are no way to win contests and has decided to make this kid's life hell.
The 9-year-old boy, who will be starting fifth grade next month, won the six-week-long “Dig into Reading” event by completing 63 books from June 24 to Aug. 3, averaging more than 10 a week.
He has consistently been the top reader since kindergarten, devouring a total of 373 books over the five contests, according to his mother, Katie.
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Everybody, it seems, but Gandron, who was surprised to learn Katie notified a Post-Star reporter about her son being a longtime winner. During a phone call Tuesday to Gandron, the library director said Tyler “hogs” the contest every year and he should “step aside.”
“Other kids quit because they can’t keep up,” Gandron said.
Gandron further told the reporter she planned to change the rules of the contest so that instead of giving prizes to the children who read the most books, she would draw names out of a hat and declare winners that way. She said she can’t now because Katie has come forward to the newspaper.
Gandron said she has an “attitude” about the contest because several years ago a little girl came in claiming she had read more than 200 books. Her mother backed her up, but it was discovered the girl was lying.
“That’s when we stopped (taking a child’s and parent’s word) because she wasn’t (reading the books),” Gandron said.
Gandron said the rules require each child to read books suitable to his or her grade level or higher. When the book is returned to the library, the child pulls a random slip of paper out of a jar and a library aide poses questions to verify whether he actually knows the content.
Queries include identifying the child’s favorite character or asking the reader what part of the book he would change and why.
Gandron said “as far as (she) knows” Tyler has fulfilled the requirements because he was able to answer everything related to the stories. His prizes, in separate years, included an atlas, T-shirt, water bottle and certificates of achievement.
“They’re really not any grand things. I think he just likes to be the top reader,” Katie said.
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