I am a professionally certified teacher. I passed all required tests.
I possess 2 college degrees, a Bachelors in English, a Masters in Library Science and Information Studies. I got these certifications and degrees by reading what I was REQUIRED to read and to study, so I could pass the tests.
I am a professional reader, by choice. (I'm not kidding--BY CHOICE--there are many Media Specialists who don't read ANYTHING.)
I will read 3 picture books, 2 juvenile chapter books, 1 or 2 young adult books, an adult-level book,ALL in the span of 10 days or so.
I can read Dr. Seuss rhymes to Pablo Neruda in his native Spanish. I can decipher Chaucer and Dante. I can allude historical times and personages to Don McLean's "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie." I can recite Shel Silverstein's "Dreadful" poem from heart. I can tell you why Miss Nelson is Missing.
I can do all of the above because I was allowed to read whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I can do all the above because I had a librarian, a Media Specialist who encouraged my explorations, who deterred my lazier choices, and always always always advocated for choosing books according to personal choices. I can do the above because I had a Media Specialist who taught me how to read, critique and understand what I read.
And that's what I want to imbue to children. Freedom to read, freedom to think, freedom to choose.
The context is a glorious manifesto well worth reading in full.