Blogger Susan Baier

A Librarian’s Open Letter to Kourtney Kardashian

Kourtney and Mason, from People.com’s Celebrity Baby blog

by Susan Baier, Santa Clara (CA) City Library

Hi, Kourtney. You should probably know that I risk alienating my colleagues by using a professional blog to communicate with you.  Many librarians are dismayed that you and your Kardashian Krew are zillionaire overexposed international stars, while the winner of the Newbery medal can’t even get an interview with Al Roker on the third hour of the Today Show. For some, your family represents everything that is wrong with our celebrity obsessed, bad behavior worshipping, tabloid society.

But I’m no hater. I think you are really pretty and dress very stylishly, and your 2-year-old son Mason is adorable.  The final part is what I want to talk to you about. Because you, Kourt, do something as a mother of a toddler that we as librarians encourage parents to do everyday. And we could use your help in spreading the message.

You read to your son.

Kourtney Kardashian — you might just be America’s most visible, most influential early literacy advocate.

(Librarians — your head didn’t explode, it just felt that way. Keep reading.)

I watch The Kardashian Network (otherwise known as the E! Channel), and on your show I see you and Mason sharing books. Was that Brown Bear, Brown Bear I spotted in a recent episode? I thought so. Good choice. I also see Mason playing with many educational, high quality toys. Does Melissa and Doug know the kind of product placement they are getting? Recently I recognized the pretend grocery store Mason has as the exact one I purchased for our Family Place library. Stars — they’re just like us!

Most importantly, you seem to be a very hands-on mother. Mason is surrounded by a large loving family who interact with him in an engaging, playful way. Amidst the manufactured drama and Valley Girl speak on your show, it’s nice to see your toddler learn, thrive, and have as normal of upbringing as possible.

I was thrilled that you recently shot a PSA about the importance of reading to your children, and that you said you’ve read books to Mason since the first week he was born. You ask him questions about the books you read and encourage him to talk about the pictures – that’s fantastic! You’re building those six early literacy skills we librarians love to talk about incessantly.

You are a trendsetter for young women all over the world, many of whom are mothers of small children like yourself. My library does a lot of outreach with teen moms, and of course we preach the importance of reading. Many of these young mothers are your fans. We can encourage them to read to their children until we are blue in the face, but seeing you on your show read to Mason? That sends a powerful message.

Thank you for everything you have done so far to promote early literacy, but we hope you don’t stop there. You have almost 5 million Twitter followers. Have you ever thought about sending out daily tweets about what good night story you read to Mason? If the American Library Association asked you and Mason to appear on a READ poster, would you do it? (I’d even be okay with including Scott, as long as he wears one of those superfly outfits. ) With your help, librarians could reach a new, young audience with this important message – an audience that may not be already using us.

I know all isn’t roses in the Kardashian Kamp. Your family has been the butt (and I’m resisting inserting a Kim reference here, which is really difficult) of many jokes. Your sister Kim made a mockery of marriage. Your mom Kris would encourage all of her children to sell their souls to the devil, as long as she collected her ten percent management fee. Your brother Rob couldn’t win Dancing with the Stars. No one quite understands what your boyfriend Scott does other than appear on your show and dress fabulously. Your sister Khloe – okay, I love Khloe. I’ll spare the snark with her. And those family Christmas cards? Way over the top, and not always in a good way.

What better way to combat some of that negative publicity than using your celebrity to promote reading to your children?

So continue reading to Mason, Kourt, and reach out to your local library if you want some more suggestions for great books to share. If you keep it up, you may just end up being my favorite Kardashian. Bible.

(post edited, 9/2/15)

16 comments

  1. Natalie

    I LOVE this- great ideas here.

  2. Melissa Taylor (@ImaginationSoup)

    Love your letter! Way to step out, Susan. Reading is for everyone. 🙂

  3. Lorraine Squires

    I assume that you’re serious here, and I think it’s a *wonderful* idea, soooo – maybe you shouldn’t snark on her family? She might be on E!, but she’s still a person with feelings.

  4. Melissa

    I think the author could have left out the insulting comments about her family. The Kardashian-bashing cancels out anything positive in the rest of the letter. This blog represents librarians everywhere who promote literacy, but the author certainly doesn’t speak for me. I would never talk to another person in such a disrespectful manner.

    1. George Needham

      I don’t think she was claiming that she spoke for you.

  5. kate

    This is brilliant. Well done you.

  6. Shannon

    Really? For some, librarians represent everything that is wrong with our professional obsessed, bad behavior self-worshipping, hierarchical society.

  7. Liz

    Oh my. You’re right – that was painful at first. Then it started to feel good.

    Good for you for pushing literacy to all from even the darkest places!

  8. Susan Baier

    Thanks for all of your comments and feedback – it’s appreciated. I am a huge Kardashian fan, watch all of their shows, and follow them on Twitter. I mean no disrespect to the family. One thing I especially like about the family is that they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a good sense of humor. They are laughing all the way to the bank, as they say – and good on them for doing it. Any jab I took at them in the letter is something they would and have said about themselves. I wanted to let the library community know that within what many people call a “trashy reality show” is a positive message regarding early literacy.

  9. Jocelyn

    Yes, maybe just snip out that second-to-last paragraph and this is perfect!

  10. Nick Armstrong

    Haha, I love the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach to this article.

    I really hope she reads and responds to this, or at the very least – heeds the advice.

  11. Rosemary Wagner

    Luv it and so true!
    instill good reading habits while they r young–it pays off!
    p.s. Who r the Kardashians? lol

  12. carole leita

    Have you done anything about getting this wonderful post in front of the kardashian empire?

  13. George Needham

    This would be a great way to redeem the whole Kardashian clan. (Had to be careful not to use their trademark “K” on clan…)

  14. Cheryl Gould

    Way to go Susan. Very clever and though I’m not up on the Kardashians, I get the humor and poignancy of it all. I agree with Carole. Let’s find a way to make sure the Kardashians see it. One never know what partnerships might evolve.

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