why don’t people read, part one in a series

As an outreach librarian, I try to figure out why people aren’t coming to the library. Some of these reasons are obvious: can’t park, bad hours, building too cold, don’t read…. When I get to answers like “don’t read” my next question is always “why not?” The answers are all over the map, but the one that drives me the craziest — since I work with a lot of seniors — is “can’t find large print titles in anything that interests me”. Now, our library has maybe a thousand large print titles, even some new ones, which is not a bad collection for a library our size. It’s mostly fiction. Non-fiction circulates less, and it’s also harder to get. Our largest request that comes to me is “more computer books in large type” followed by “more poetry” If you’re blind in the US, you can get books on tape delivered to you for free, but you often can’t choose the exact titles [think Netflix] and you don’t get the tactile experience of reading which many people really like. According to the Royal National Institute of the Blind in the UK 96% of all books are not available in large print, audio or braille editions. They have started a Right to Read campaign complete with arresting graphics and sound clip by Michael Palin, to raise people’s awareness of lack of access to reading materials for the blind and otherwise visually impaired. [pscott]