This book is a quick, must read for librarians.


  • Boys’ reading level is an average of 1.5 years behind girls
  • 85% of librarians and teachers are female.
  • The lack of male teachers contribute to a boy’s perception that libraries are feminine.
  • A few factors that discourage boys from reading include:
    • stereotypes,
    • absence of fathers,
    • a lack of male role models in schools and libraries.
  • Many teachers and librarians should alter their collections to meet the needs of boys. 
  • Interesting quote – “Boys tend to be more loud, boisterous, and physical than girls. When they exhibit these traits in the library, they are often shushed, glared at, and made to feel unwelcome in a hundred different ways – that is if they are not actually told to leave.”
  • What boys read: Non-fiction, humor, sports, fantasy, adventure, etc.
  • Competitive programs: chess, games, and other challenges

2 Questions to Comment On:

  1. Why are there so few male educators?
  2. Do you know of any neat programs that a library has done to attract boys?

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Chuck

    “Boys tend to be more loud, boisterous, and physical than girls. When they exhibit these traits in the library, they are often shushed, glared at, and made to feel unwelcome in a hundred different ways – that is if they are not actually told to leave.”

    This is a sad fact. This happens in our library. Our library is technically traditional. Old school, you might say. When I was in high school I was shushed by a lady librarian because I was talking with my friends. I could not remember what we were talking about but we were told to shut up. Eventually, we were told to go out because of the noise we created. It was constructive noise as far as I know but then again, libraries (back in the 90’s) are supposed to be soooo quiet. I hope things change for the development of our boys.

  • Chuck

    Why are there so few male educators?

    In our school there are more male teachers probably because we are an all-boys-institution.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but think that it is an issue of money. Most Elementary teachers make less than secondary or post secondary educators. And it seems that in high schools there are male teachers. Food for thought. E

  • Karen

    As a retired fifth grade teacher with 25 years of classroom experience, I too once thought that the main reason most men didn’t go into teaching as a career was because of low paying salaries. Now that I am doing research on the web for my former colleagues, I am amazed at the number of men in elementary classrooms. I believe that advances in technology have had much to do with it: SMARTboards, blogging, digital storytelling, the overall incredible revolution in technological advances – all this and more have made the classroom more appealing to men. Top it off with access to the Internet and you have the perfect recipe to appeal to males of all ages. Now maybe with more men in education the salary situation will also change.

  • Lydia Schultz

    One thing that I have done in our K to 8 school library is to make games like Chess, Junior Scrabble, and so on available for students (usually boys) to play during “free time” in the library. I also regularly have done origami (or,in all honesty, many paper airplanes) with kids to test which fly best, which do tricks, etc. What usually happens is that the boys choose to borrow books to help them get better at the games or to make their own planes. It gets them engaged where they are.

  • Anonymous

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  • Micheal Golrick

    And Michael Sullivan is a great speaker as well. If you need a speaker, I highly recommend him! (I think he is still in New Hampshire, and is or was a public library director!)

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  • Rose

    On the issue on few male educators, I’ve asked myself the same question. Could it be that the teaching profession is likened to the role of a mother? To nurture the child or the student which intrinsically is a female trait.

    In our local library, I haven’t seen a unique program to encourage boys to read. It was more of a generic reading program which unfortunately does not address the reading problem in boys.

  • zemlene

    There are few male educators all over the world because maybe they think that this kind of job is very tedious, needs a lot of patience and dedication. And Perhaps the boys thinks that this is a girl profession because it has to do more with more mother- like affection and guidance to the learners.

    As i have noticed in the school that I’m working, there are only 10% male teachers. And that 10% are not all males, she-males are also counted.

    In our school library,we don’t have any programs done to attract boys into reading and writing. Hopefully we could have one next year.

  • vanessa_cruz0615

    There were also few male educators here in our country…and yes maybe they find teaching a feminine type of work..They were more into physical work here. One program I knew was sending the students to spend an hour in the library, and their attendance serve as one quiz for that week. So the boys have no choice but read books, but they can freely choose the books that they like to read. I just don’t know if it works to that school.

  • ayoubmarket


    Michael Sullivan is a very talented writer and I got a chance to read many books for this brilliant writer; in this book he forces us first to look at the world through a boy’s eyes. What he sees is a world run by women, who demand behavior that’s easy for girls and hard for boys. That environment seems so natural to librarians that we don’t even notice it, let alone see what a turn-off it is for boys. But after an entire day at school being forced to sit quietly under the often disapproving stares of female teachers, why would boys choose to spend their spare time in yet another female environment?
    This is his perspective and I agree with him!
    About the “male/female teachers” issue I think females love teaching more than males do; and because they are more helpful than the most male teachers,

    Thank you;

  • samanthajr

    I think men are starting to become teachers and librarians more now. I agre with rose the mother quality that kids look for. The schools around here do incenitives for reading.You earn points that you can redeem for many different things. Its a good program.

  • Debby1

    I am not sure why there are so few male teachers. When I was in school I has some awesome male teachers. I had a reading teacher that was so dedicated to the kids. He spent time after school for those that wanted extra help. I looked up to him and respected him. In highschool I had a male teacher for physics. I know for sure I would never have passed without his guidance. He made things so fun and easy to understand. I opened the physics book the first day I got it and convinced myself I was never going to pass.

    I often wonder if the rate of male teachers is diminising due to the low pay?

  • TedWahler

    Brilliant post. Simply brilliant.

    As a male teaching in the inner city I felt that my presence as a male role model held as much value to some of my students as the content I had to share with them.

    Society is what it is and sadly between the deterioration of the male role model from Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best to Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, Mr. Garrison of South Park, et al. there is a huge need for a solid male role model in these times.

    These young men need something to emulate and will do so even if it is the lowest common denominator.

  • Mike McQueen

    Thanks, TedWahler, and everyone else that have been so engaged in conversation. Take a look at all the dialogue that has occurred in our comments about one fact in this book. It’s great to see people with opinions and passion.

  • Noel Jambo

    Your situation is different from ours. We have very few lady librarians and almost an equal number of male and female teachers. Possibly there are lots of job opportunities that side. In my country it is more common to go for a job which is available than choosing what you want. I taught for 2 years. It was not my preference but it was available. I moved to Librarianship, which had and still have very few women. Possibly 10% or so. However management at some time was encouraging women to join but the reason was that in the North there are many lady librarians that the South hemisphere. Things were not looked at from this perspective. It was because there seemed to be more lady Librarians so lets follow suite.

    So cases are different here. But I have loved this discussion


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