“It’s important to promote what young people read”

“It’s important to promote what young people read”
“It’s important to promote what young people read”

Mathilde Bouvier is in charge of operations for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Livre et Lecture association. She was on the set of the Lyon Capitale show “6 Minutes Chrono” to present the “Young people in bookstores” program.

Mathilde Bouvier, firstly, explains the concept: “Each class must meet three book professionals. A bookseller who will come to class to present his profession and the book chain. Then, an author who can be an illustrator, comic book writer, translator. And recently, a third professional. Generally, it is a publisher or an organizer of a literary festival, a printer… The classes will be able to discuss with this person about their career, their missions and often carry out a practical workshop. For example, with a bookseller, they will write favorites about a book they liked. With authors, they will do writing workshops or binding workshops. Afterwards, it depends on the people they meet.“She also adds:”after these three meetings, each young person goes to a bookstore and has 30 euros to spend in the bookstore to really choose what they want. It is not a reading that is constrained, that is imposed. This is to really enhance what they read.

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On the background, “there is a bit of an idea of ​​orientation so that young people discover somewhat artistic, cultural professions, which are less known or about which they have preconceived ideas. There is also the idea of ​​discovering books and reading other than through the school prism, so that they can see a reading, a literature which is embodied, which is alive, to meet real people, a concrete profession, as we said, to get out of the school framework which can be quite theoretical and academic. And so, it is also about supporting these professions which are nevertheless fragile professions, precarious for many. It is also for the speakers, they are paid for these meetings. It’s to bring all this fabric to life” adds the operations manager of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Livre et Lecture.

More details on what young people read today and the quality of their reading, in the video…

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The full transcript of the show:

Hello everyone, welcome to the show 6 minutes chrono, the daily meeting of the Lyon Capitale editorial staff. Today, we are going to talk about youth and books. For this, we welcome Mathilde Bouvier, operations manager at the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Livre et Lecture association. Hello Mathilde Bouvier.
Thank you for coming to our set. We’re going to get to the heart of the matter a little. We welcome you to present a system called “Young People in Bookstores”. Can you give us the main points?

Of course. “Young people in Bookstores” is a system to encourage personal reading for middle and high school students from fourth to final year. It is also a device for discovering book professions and for encouraging young people to purchase books in bookstores.

Alright. Concretely, these are several days, we talked about it a little before the show, which take place in different locations. Can you explain to us how it happens?

Yes. Each class must meet three book professionals. A bookseller who will come to class to present his profession and the book chain. Then, an author who can be an illustrator, comic book writer, translator. And recently, a third professional. Generally, it is a publisher or an organizer of a literary festival, a printer… The classes will be able to discuss with this person about their career, their missions and often carry out a practical workshop. For example, with a bookseller, they will write favorites about a book they liked. With authors, they will do writing workshops or binding workshops. Afterwards, it depends on the people they meet.

All right. So there you have it, they’re getting their hands dirty. It’s not just theory with a bit of a lecture, it’s very concrete. Perhaps just on the very meaning of this system, why is it important to introduce book professions to middle and high school students today?

There are several reasons. First, there is a bit of an idea of ​​orientation so that young people discover somewhat artistic, cultural professions, which are less known or about which they have preconceived ideas. There is also the idea of ​​discovering books and reading other than through the school prism, so that they can see a reading, a literature which is embodied, which is alive, to meet real people, a concrete profession, as we said, to get out of the school framework which can be quite theoretical and academic. And so, it is also about supporting these professions which are nevertheless fragile professions, precarious for many. It is also for the speakers, they are paid for these meetings. It’s to bring all this fabric to life.

Alright. And what about young people? Is there any good feedback? Because we could also say that it could be far from their centers of interest sometimes. This morning I looked at the annual study from the National Book Center for the year 2024 which says that one in three young people do not read at all for their leisure time. A young person is between 16 and 19 years old and they spend almost ten times more time on screens. It is not a surprise. These are figures which, from year to year, increase. But does it really stick during these days when he discovers in a concrete way behind the scenes of the world of books?

Yes, so overall, it sticks. Obviously, there are different reactions from young people. You can’t force someone to like reading or enjoy reading. In any case, it allows them a step aside in their daily lives. And above all, the idea is to promote them, to promote their books. Because what I didn’t say is that in fact, after these three meetings, each young person goes to the bookstore and has 30 euros to spend in the bookstore to really choose what they want. It is not a reading that is constrained, that is imposed. This is to really enhance what they read. Because it’s true that there are these surveys which show that young people read less and less. After us, what we find is that it is also important to promote what young people read. For example, we will ask them if they are readers. They will tell us “no, I am not a reader and I do not like reading”. And then we learn that in fact, they read three mangas a week, or they read comics, or they read magazines or things like that. The idea is to show that reading is not just about authors’ novels. But it’s also current, it’s contemporary. There is bound to be a book that could potentially suit them.

Can you explain a little about the origin of the concept as well? Where did this idea of ​​“Young people in bookstores” come from?

Yes, so it’s a project that existed in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in 2006 and also in Hauts de France in 2008. And then, it was generalized in France in 2021, after confinement. All regions have their “Young people in bookstores”. We were commissioned by the DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes to deploy this system in the region. It was to support bookstores after confinement and propose a project for young people, to raise awareness of reading.

So if high schools, colleges or even booksellers are interested, they should turn to you. There you have it, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Book and Reading. Can we present your association in a few words? What is this ?

Yes of course. So it is an association which supports the book professions in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This requires support and expertise. We offer professional days, therefore aimed at booksellers, publishers, authors, festivals. We seek to promote cooperation between all these professions. It’s a chain, so there is interdependence between all these professions. We try to ensure that they can work together, meet each other. And we also manage support systems, often economical, for several of these professionals, including “Young people in bookstores”.

That’s it, intended for professionals, not normally the general public.

So.

Alright. This will be the final word. Thank you very much Mathilde Bouvier for coming to present “Jeune en bookstore” on the set of the show 6 minutes chrono. As for you, thank you for following this show. Find more details on literary news from Lyon and elsewhere on the website lyoncapitale.fr. See you soon.

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