New Statewide Initiative Says Reading Key to Success

Kate Kamakahi
Kate Kamakahi

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Governor Linda Lingle announces a new state-wide reading initiative Monday.

"We want our state to be the very best and one way to assure that is to make certain that we have a literate citizenry and the way to do that is through the entire community, but its everyone recognizing that reading makes life better, reading is fun," said Lingle.

"The Big Read" is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative, designed to increase recreational reading. Hawaii's book selection is the "The Joy Luck Club." Throughout the month, state-wide events will showcase "The Joy Luck Club," encouraging communities to read and discuss the book.

"The Big Read" came about after a nationwide survey revealed a serious decline in adult literary reading.

The survey by the NEA says that less than half of American adults read books during their leisure time, that aren't required for work or school. It's a disturbing trend that many has many Hawaii readers concerned.

While a statewide initiative encourages more adults to pick up a book, some are already on a quest for lifelong learning.

Library regular and career college instructor Kate Kamakahi says she sees firsthand why reading is so important.

"Its the readers that get ahead. I absolutely believe in that. Its the reading-writing connection. If you can't communicate you may have all those great ideas up there, but if you can't communicate, no one else is going to be able to know about those good ideas."

For librarian Stacy Judy, reading is a way of life.

"In my life I think reading has been where I've learned most of what I know. And I think people who read are a lot more well rounded and have a lot more knowledge than people who don't," said Judy.

On this day, Kate works on her families genealogy. She says these books give her invaluable insight into the past.

"Have a sense of your family, your history. For generations on, you can pass that living history on. If we didn't have these resources there would be a lot of dead ends because people didn't always pass the history on."

Her advice for rusty readers?

"It doesn't have to be scholarly, it doesn't have to be highbrow or anything. But, just something that connects them with life."