Nioga Library System honors GCC’s Chiddy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By Ben Beagle bbeagle@batavianews.com

Sue Chiddy, whose work at Genesee Community College has helped students discover the pleasures of reading, was recently honored for her efforts by the Nioga Library System.

Chiddy, a learning specialist in GCC’s Center for Academic Progress, received the library system’s Outreach Award for her part in involving GCC in the “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project. The award includes an honorarium of $75 that is given for the purchase of library materials that serve outreach patrons.

“I grew up in a family that valued reading, have always been an avid reader, and have hopefully instilled the value of reading in my family and in the students and families I have worked with through the years,” Chiddy said.

The “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project, organized by public libraries in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, and GCC, encourages people in the three counties to read the selected book, then attended book discussions and author visits.

The Nioga Library System serves libraries in Niagara, Orleans, and Genesee counties.

Outreach Award nominees show a commitment in providing library services to populations that may have limited access to such services. Nominations may be made by anyone associated with the Nioga system. The award was presented May 24 during Nioga’s annual board of trustees meeting.

Chiddy, said Nioga Outreach Librarian Lisa Erickson, was selected for the award “for her leadership in getting the GCC community involved in the community read ‘A Tale for Three Counties.’ ”

Chiddy first participated in Tale on her own, reading the project’s first selection, Leif Enger’s “Peace Like a River,” in 2003. The next year she attended a program  with Howard Frank Mosher, author of that year’s book, “Northern Borders.”

“I was hooked by the dynamism of the Tale program,” Chiddy said.

When GCC became a partner in the Tale program in 2005, Chiddy used that year’s book, “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Julia Spencer-Fleming, in her reading classes and students, she said, “were enthusiastic about the book.”

“The students in my developmental reading classes are often not enthusiastic about reading for pleasure and focus on reading only that which is assigned. I thought that the opportunity to participate in a book discussion and to meet the author would be a motivating force,” said Chiddy, who has been an adjunct instructor at GCC since 1998, teaching reading, human relations and study skills courses.

She has continued to use each year’s pick — taking characters and events to illustrate points about relationships in her human relations course, for example — and has encouraged other instructors to incorporate the book in their courses. For the 2012 program, Yannick Murphy’s “The Call” was used in 21 classes and 400 books were given away to students through the Tale program. A related student essay contest saw a record 51 entries.

“I would definitely say that student involvement has benefitted the reading habits of our students,” Chiddy said, noting that many students have continued reading books by the featured author or sought out similar books. Some have even branched out into other genres.

“Several students have acknowledged that after reading the Tale book they have become a ‘reader’ or stated that they have actually read an entire book for the first time in many years,” Chiddy said.

One student, Chiddy recalled, said that “she really enjoyed reading the book and when she realized that her coworkers were also reading the book they began talking about it. Their discussions proved to be relationship builders as well.”

“This is just one example of how reading unites us; it brings us together in discussion whether in agreement or disagreement,” Chiddy said. “Reading furthers critical thinking as we support our position. This is an essential skill for college reading as students need to analyze and evaluate what they read for various college courses. Reading novels, such as the annual Tale books, enhances the reader’s skill as it provides practice, perhaps challenging vocabulary and new ideas and information.”

GCC also hosts several book discussions as part of the Tale program. Students and community members participate in these discussions.

“The interaction and sharing of ideas and opinions is thought provoking,” Chiddy said.

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Courtesy of Batavia News

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