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Oops! I’m Reading Again: National Get Caught Reading Month

May 9, 2024

As we continue our series exploring fun celebratory months noted within the National Day Calendar, I couldn’t help but pick this one. It’s National Get Caught Reading Month! As a librarian, I get caught reading all the time: at work, at home, at the doctor’s office, etc., etc. It can be difficult to find a candid photograph in our digital collection of someone reading, but there is no shortage of images showing readers. Let’s explore them!

Newspaper readers at the Indianapolis Recorder picnic, Indianapolis, 1948; Rocking and Reading, Rush County, ca. 1915; Enjoying a magazine on the lawn, Greenfield, ca. 1900. Indianapolis Recorder Collection, IHS (cropped); IHS, P0515 (cropped); IHS, P0003 (cropped)

There are many places to enjoy a good read. One of my favorites is shared with the above readers, the great outdoors! On warm days, I love to set out a blanket on our lawn, lay on my stomach, feet in the air, with my book of choice in front of me. I’m sure I’ve been caught doing so by my neighbors as well as my family.

Portraits of readers by Mary Lyon Taylor, Indianapolis, ca. 1910. IHS, P0178

In the early twentieth century, unlike today, electronic entertainment at home was all but non-existent. Stereographs and reading along with board games were common forms of indoor entertainment. It’s no surprise then that Mary Lyon Taylor, pictorialist portrait photographer, chose reading as one of her favorite depictions. Above are just a few of the images she captured of those ‘caught’ reading.

Readers at the Boys Club, Terre Haute, 1945; Children reading at Deming School Library, Terre Haute, 1943;
Readers at the Haughville Library, Indianapolis, 1920. Martin’s Photo Shop, IHS (cropped); Bass Photo Collection, IHS (cropped)

While reading is generally a solitary activity, one of my favorite ways to read is in a room with other readers. In fact, there’s a modern movement called the Silent Book Club, of which Indianapolis has a chapter. People get together to read in the same locale at the same time. Sounds perfect! More likely though, places like schools and libraries, such as those shown above, will be places where a group of readers will be caught together on a regular basis.

This blog’s author catches herself reading in beautiful places all the time by herself and loves to share those moments! Author’s photos.

Since I grab a book just about any time I have a few moments, I often share those pictures on my personal social media to subliminally encourage others to find a good place to read. I hope you all go out there and get caught reading this month!

To visit our other great blog content, visit the IHS blog site.

Amy Vedra

Amy Vedra is the director of reference services. She is currently reading her way through the Great American Reads list.

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