Apparently, this New York elementary school student is too good at reading.
Nine-year-old Tyler Weaver and his mother are upset after a local librarian made disparaging comments about the boy’s dedicated reading habits last week. Tyler has been the winner of Hudson Falls Public Library’s summer reading contest for five years in a row, but library director Marie Gandron told local newspaper the Post-Star that she thinks it's time he abdicated his throne and gave someone else a chance.
The library holds an annual summer reading contest in which kids who read a minimum of 10 books are invited to an end-of-summer party. The participant who reads the most books is rewarded with a prize. Over the past five years, Tyler has read a total of 373 books for the contest, the Post-Star reports.
The outlet initially contacted the library to write a story about Tyler’s winning streak. However, they found that not everybody thought his accomplishments were cause for celebration.
Gandron told the outlet that Tyler “hogs” the contest and that she wants to change the contest rules so that the winner’s name is picked randomly out of a hat. She suggested that Tyler’s ability deters other kids from participating in the contest, because “they can’t keep up.”
In response, Tyler’s mother, Katie Weaver, told Today.com that neither she nor her son were pleased about Gandron’s comments.
“When he heard what the director said [about him] he was very upset,’’ Katie Weaver told the outlet. “He’s never seen being good at reading to be a negative thing. And he shouldn’t! He realized that the director was wrong."
She added, “I was really, really angry when I heard what she said. I think Tyler deserves an apology. I want him to see that even though one person disagrees, if it’s something he wants to pursue, I think he should go for it. He learned a great lesson about ignoring negativity.”
Further, Tyler told local ABC outlet WTEN-TV he hopes Gandron does not change the contest’s rules.
"She says for every ten books, you get to put your name on a slip," Tyler told NEWS10. "But if some kid just reads ten books and wins it's not fair. He didn't put enough effort into it."
On Thursday, the president of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Michael Herman, released a statement addressing the controversy. He noted that some “unfortunate comments have overshadowed the accomplishments of Tyler Weaver and all of the participants in our program" but said the board will review the rules of the contest.
The statement reads, in part:
“Looking forward, the Library Board and staff will be reviewing the way in which our program works to ensure that it continues to meet its goal of encouraging as many children as possible to spend time reading over the summer. We thank Tyler and all of our young friends of Hudson Falls Free Library for sharing their love of reading with us, and we look forward to reading and learning with them for many years to come."
Before the library issued an apology, Katie Weaver told WTEN-TV that her family is considering joining a different public library.