The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts are getting together to correct the alleged “dramatic decline in literary reading” with a program called The Big Read. I’m sure librarians won’t mind getting some grant money, but can we admit that the decline in literary reading isn’t the same as a decline in reading, or book buying, or library attendance?
The Christian Science Monitor takes on the media conclusions to the NEA “reading in crisis” report, finding some other folks to place the blame on.
Publishers and writers can blame TV, the Internet, and the media all they want, but the problem lies squarely with them. They need to activate their marketing and literary imagination in order to promote their books, as well as the act of reading, in new ways. They, more than anyone, need to be organized keepers of the reading flame.