Welcome to 2009!
Schott's Miscellany ranks high among my recent discoveries. Described on the book jacket flap as an 'almanac written to be read', Schott's is truly a miscellaneous collection of fascinating items compiled by Ben Schott, New York Times best-selling author. I thought I would share some of the interesting data filed under Reading in the Society & Health section of the new edition.
The National Endowment for the Arts 2007 report, To Read or Not to Read, focused on American literacy - the findings are somewhat depressing, especially for a librarian in the public sector:
The average American aged 15 - 24 spent only 7 minutes a day reading for pleasure. Older Americans, on average, spend about 20 minutes per day, with Seniors reading as much as 50 minutes each day.
The report notes that teenage literacy levels have declined at the same time as the decline in reading for pleasure, although our youngest readers have shown an improvement in reading levels. This makes me wonder whether the distractions of electronic games, music and video contribute to the decline as children move through adolescence.
While the library is consciously adding to our digital collection(s), we still have lots of books and printed material for your reading pleasure.
If you're interested, here's a link to the 98-page report: http://www.nea.gov/research/ToRead.PDF. Browsing the report should help to raise the national average!