What They’re Reading: Literacy Advocate Karen Love
In Karen Love’s earliest memories, her mother is taking her to the library, and her father, an educator who taught her brother to read at age 4, is always reading. When she’s old enough, she and her friends take “wonderful adventures” to the library in their Philadelphia neighborhood, ending in “a room where you could pick whatever you wanted to read,” she recalls.
The joy of reading led to a 36-year career teaching in Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township school districts. Since retiring in 2011, Love can be found at the front of local literacy initiatives, putting books into the hands of children and advising Dauphin County Library System on diversifying its collections.
“The key is to keep reading alive,” she says. “The importance of reading and learning from books and the joy of learning is something that students will always be able to access.”
What are you reading? I’ve been reading books on social justice. One is “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” by Dr. Joy DeGruy. It was fascinating to read why there is so much anger and resentment and how we channel that into something productive. I’ve also been looking at books that would help children, so I’m reading “Stamped,” which is Jason Reynold’s remix for young people of “Stamped from the Beginning,” the National Book Award winner by Ibram X. Kendi about the history of racist ideas in America.
Why those books? As an African-American woman, there are so many aspects in our community that remain fragile for so many people. The only way we can grow is to face the issues and see where we stand, and examine how we got to where we are and see if there aren’t some necessary conversations that need to happen to grow into a better community.
What’s your favorite thing about The Library? I’ve met people who are truly committed to making The Library responsive to the community. I’ve visited several libraries and looked at their selections. They are doing a good job. There is so much information out there, so now we are trying to get better. That is a crucial goal – to make sure that all of our people see themselves reflected in The Library’s books and programs.