Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How can I find a report on reading statistics in the U.S.?

Today a newsletter called Smart Libraries was left in my mailbox. ALA TechSource publishes this newsletter. On the third page, they include an article on the most recent reading report created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is titled "Reading on the Rise. Basically, they claim that reading has increased in the last few years--not dramatically, but they have been able to measure it to some degree.

Naturally, this is good news. Reading in general, even literary titles like novels, poetry, and plays, tends to result in social benefits. In a previous report NEA completed in 2004, reading had gone down: Reading at Risk Report.

I appreciate that the author of this newsletter article, Tom Peters, inserted statistics on persons who listen to audiobooks, why they do it, and how they are more likely to read a physical book than someone who doesn't listen to an audiobook. Most people find audiobooks at a local library and do so for long trips, exercise, or to reduce monotony on their daily commutes. It appears, though, that downloaded electronic books are becoming more popular. He found many of these statistics via the APA Press Release.

Libraries, of course, promote reading, and librarians should be aware of the different formats in which people "read" and make them as easily accessible as possible.

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