Monthly Archives: November 2013

Pleasure Reading Survey

The National Reading Campaign recently commissioned a study by Environics Research Group to gather benchmark data about the pleasure reading habits of Canadians. Based on a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Canadians, the survey results revealed a population of passionate readers still very engaged with traditional reading platforms, and a group of Canadians not reading for pleasure in any medium.

82% of Canadians read for pleasure as often or more often than they did last year. Books are the overwhelmingly preferred medium, with 70% of readers preferring them to magazines, newspapers, and blogs. While level of education is linked to the amount of reading done for pleasure, level of income is not. Those reading the most have family incomes of from $30,000 to under $50,000.

Although the percentage of Canadians reading for pleasure is high, 12% of Canadians reported reading for pleasure less than they did last year and 5% admitted to not reading for pleasure at all. These figures combine to reveal that one in five Canadians does not read for enjoyment or does so less than they used to.

The study additionally revealed that:

  • 49% have used library services in the past year
  • 45% of Canadians reported that their reading of electronic publications has increased in the past year
  • More men report an increase in reading e-publications
  • Library use is higher in urban centres

Past research has found that reading for pleasure is linked to better overall satisfaction with life, higher incomes, healthier relationships (lower divorce rates), and better mental health.

The National Reading Campaign hopes that these figures will draw attention to the need to bring the benefits of reading for pleasure to all Canadians.

Results of the survey can be read here: Environics – National Reading Campaign – Survey report.

Book on German school libraries

Gunter Schlamp shares: “After more than two decades of advocating school libraries in Germany – an especially hard nut to crack -, I published a book about school libraries. It begins with a small chapter that describes how I, as a teacher, learned to appreciate school libraries and organized some of them, followed by a short overview of the situation of school libraries in Germany. The main topic of the book is the future of the school library as a learning space.

Various experts have contributed to the book: Guenther Brée, chairman of the Hessian association of school libraries, describes how “media quests”, that is, information searches in a variety of formats, and media education, with a focus on film, can be integrated with the teaching of subject content. Dr. Markus Fritz, director of the school library system for the German-speaking minority in South Tyrol/Italy, explains how the school libraries in South Tyrol address information literacy and describes the measures for assuring the quality of South Tyrol school libraries. Buffy Hamilton compares a good school library with a good restaurant – enchanting closing words.

The book offers a list with more than one hundred links, which is also available on the website of the publishing house and which allows a deeper exploration of my vision. The book is not a how-to manual, but an appetizer for parents, teachers, school administrators and librarians:

Schulbibliotheken im Zentrum. Erfahrungen, Berichte, Visionen

Library of Congress Literacy Awards Event

The Library of Congress: imposing any day as it faces the Capitol. But especially impressive on November 4, 2013, when I entered its Jefferson Building to celebrate the literacy awards being recognized that day.

2013 is a special year for several reasons, but in particular, it is the year that the Library of Congress Literacy Awards were launched, through the generosity of David M Rubenstein: The Carlyle Group co-founder and major donor to the Library of Congress. The $50,000 American Prize honors a project implemented successfully to combat illiteracy. The $50,000 International Prize honors the work of an organization in a specific country or region. The $150,000 David M. Rubenstein Prizes honors a groundbreaking or sustain record of advancement of literacy by any entity worldwide. John Cole, Director of the Library of Congress Center for the Book,  coordinated this tremendous effort.

I was fortunate to be selected as a member of the Advisory Board for these awards, and spearheaded the American Prize selection committee. Along with Susan Hilbreth, Institute of Museum and Library Services Director, and Benita Somerfield, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Governing Board Member, I culled the nearly two hundred applications for these three awards.  The rest of the advisory board narrowed the selection to a handful of projects from which Library of Congress Librarian Dr. James Billington chose the three winners. Being a member of the Advisory Board was itself a great honor; other members included Loriene Roy, Robert Wedgeworth, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, Caroline Kennedy, David Baldacci, James Patterson, as well as other leaders: National Catholic Education Association former President Karen Ristau, Salvation Army USA Planning Coordinator Carol Seiler, Nemours BrightStart! Executive Director Laura Bailey, World Bank Senior Specialist Michael Trucano, National Library Board of Singapore Chief Executive Officer Elaine Ng, Author Maryanne Wolf, Harvard Language and Literacy Program Director Pamela Mason, former Literacy Network of Greater LA Chair Steven Koltai, Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson, Candlewick Press President Karen Lotz, and Honorary Chair Laura Bush.

On the morning of November 4, the award winners and semi-finalists, along with the advisory board and Library of Congress representatives , met to discuss the lessons learned from this first year. As one of three panelists, I talked about the need for more publicity and leveraging of these significant awards and projects. After a lovely lunch, David Baldacci spoke in the Coolidge Auditorium about literacy needs and his efforts (including providing books in food banks to nourish the soul). The three prizes were presented: the American Prize for 826 National (a storefront program that focuses on writing workshops), the International Prize for India’s PlanetRead (which uses Bollywood songs with closed captioning to motivate reading), and the Rubenstein Prize for Reach Out and Read (which encourages early childhood reading through pediatrician-parent relationships). The winners’ presentations were each uniquely inspiring. James Patterson provided the finale with a heartwarming talk about reading. Attendees then toured the building, and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner in the library great hall.

The advisory board met on the 5th as well to discuss future directions and logistics. 2014 plans to be just as productive as this year. It should be noted that another valuable result of the process was the production of a booklist on best practices, which was made public at the celebration. The booklet will be available for downloading in the near future.

I am proud of both the process and the products, and learned much from my estimable colleagues. I will be conducting research on the applications to discern patterns of success, which can be leveraged by literacy initiatives.

Dr. Lesley Farmer, California State University Long Beach


International copyright issues

Ahead of the plenary meeting of Licences for Europe that will be held this afternoon in Brussels, EBLIDA calls on the European Commission to open in-depth discussions on copyright reform as the Licences for Europe process fails to address key concerns of libraries and their users.

Please find the full Press Release issued November 13, 2013, at this link:

Philippines disaster

Here is information from a FAIFE member in the Philippines, noting the link to their website

Those colleagues who wanted to help and donate will be deposited under the name of PHILIPPINE LIBRARIANS ASSOCIATION, INC. (PLAI), 3/F PLAI Office, c/o The National Library of the Philippines, T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila,   Banco de Oro (BDO) Saving’s Account No. 451-000-1102, T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila, Philippiunes, SWIFT CODE BN0RPHMM.   Rest assured that every amount (big or small) and items received will be accounted for and be acknowledged.  This will also be posted and updated from time to time in PLAI website (