Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To read or not to read. Is that even a question?

Do you know why I love libraries so much?

Its got to be a toss up between 1) They're usually quiet places and 2) They're treasure troves of books, DVDs, video games, CDs, graphic novels, paranormal experiences! children's picture books, romance novels, science fiction and fantasy EPICS oh man!!! I could go on and on! Of course with 3 kids constantly underfoot (one of them a chatterbox... one a compulsive video gamer and the other a constant train wreck just waiting to happen) I suppose I could be sitting in a mortuary and still be at peace so long as the kids were quiet! LOL I understand that reading to most people is considered a leisure activity--unless you're in school or have to read a book for a book club... many people just don't make the time to sit down and pick up a good book and that makes me sad, because reading is important.

Reading is exercise for your mind; like we'd go visit the gym to exercise our bodies, we have the libraries to get us the books we need to make sure we keep our minds active. Even better than the gym, the library is FREE! There is no membership required and unless you're absolutely forgetful, you won't even have a monthly fee so long as you remember to return your books. We're told as parents that our kids need at least 15 minutes a day. Do we as adults even get that much time for ourselves?

I read an article in US Today dated back from 2007 that only 3 out of 4 Americans actually read books. What?! Why??? Of course, I'm biased because I love reading and I'm in library school, but honestly... I suppose one could equate not reading to... not running for exercise... or not taking an interest in cooking to eat! Maybe. Just maybe.

I had to look into this more... I mean 2007 was a long time ago. 5 years makes a big difference in the culture of American society--what's cool, what's not... what's in and what's out. What used to be a regular past time has been replaced by oh so many more things now that our lives are getting increasingly faster paced year after year. You could both blame and thank computers for that. I have my whole opinion on how we've damaged ourselves by becoming increasingly reliant on our digital worlds, social media and virtual spaces, but I'll save that for another post in another time.

A study done by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009 at least reported a rise since 2007 in American readership. As of 2009, America was neatly divided into two nearly equal parts: readers and non-readers. One of the key points they make is that:
Reading is an important indicator of positive individual and social behavior patterns. Previous NEA research has shown that literary readers volunteer, attend arts and sports events, do outdoor activities, and exercise at higher rates than non-readers.

Come on America. Exercise those minds and pick up a book. When was the last time you finished a book and clutching it to your chest exclaimed: "WOW! This book was so good/bad/romantic/exciting/scary/funny!" What was the last thing you read?