Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Scholastic Publishing, the company that did well with the U.S. rights to the Harry Potter series, may have reasons for wanting to promote reading among young people, but a recent study it conducted with Yankelovich consumer research had some very interesting results. Kids ages 5 to 17 were surveyed about their use of technology and how it affects their reading. The answers paint a more optimistic future for the book than many might have guessed.
75% of the youth surveyed in the “2008 Kids and Family Reading Report” said that, “No matter what I can do online, I’ll always want to read books printed on paper.” Amazingly, 62% also said that they prefer reading a book that is printed on paper rather than reading a book on a handheld device or a computer screen.
89% of the kids agreed with the statement, “My favorite books are the ones I picked out myself.” Is it any wonder, then, that “reading books for fun” drops as children grow older and they are “assigned” books to read in school? This 2008 study confirms the findings of a similar survey conducted in 2006, which show that recreational reading declines after age eight and continues to drop through the teenage years.
With these results in mind, how are materials being used at the Shaker Library by both adults and children? We know that overall usage of library materials reached an all-time record level in 2006 and that 2007 was another record year for the circulation of books and audiovisual materials. In fact, through the month of May, that record pace continues with a 2.4% increase, year-to-date, over 2007.
While adults are checking out materials at a rate 1.7% higher than last year, use by younger children is 4% higher and use by teens has climbed 10%. It is also interesting to note that new library card registrations have grown at double-digit levels for both adults and children—partly due to the new time- management software for our public computers, which calls for a library card number. Nonetheless, 64% more adults have registered for library cards so far this year as compared to last year, and 74% more children (under age 18)!
Meanwhile, the Summer Reading Program is in full swing and we are busy with the architectural review process that will help us select a firm to renovate the unfinished areas of the Main Library second floor, as well as to redesign library services to take better advantage of technology and to provide better service for the public.
The Library received a $16,433 grant from Cuyahoga County for out-of-school-time programs and activities for teens. Grant money will be used to open the Main Library Teen Center earlier in the day on weekdays and on Saturdays, to offer summer enrichment programs for teens, and to purchase a Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox with flat-panel screens and games. Watch the library and the website for more information.
Two exciting programs to be held at Bertram Woods Branch this month are the Friends Annual Meeting and Election of Officers followed by a slide lecture on Frank Lloyd Wright by Cheryl Kuonen on July 8 and a Book Talk by Nancy Pearl, on July 16. The author of Book Lust and its sequels, Nancy Pearl is the only librarian to have inspired the creation of her own “action figure.” You’ve heard her on NPR. Now meet her at the Shaker Library.