Friday, October 16, 2009

Is a Down Economy Good for Literacy?

Though the article and interview entitled "The Triumph of Readers" with author Anne Patchett is a bit dated, it raises some interesting connections between the downturn in the economy and the upturn in those who're choosing to read more often. Patchett is the author of several novels and also serves on the board of her local library in Nashville. According to her article, readership and library use is on the raise. Could this be related to the fact that entertainment has become so expensive? Maybe it's because we're looking to escape the realities of a declining economy?

Whatever the reason, it's important to remember to encourage donations of money and books to our local literacy organizations and libraries. We cannot use this time of financial distress to leave our most precious and precarious institutions to crumble. If we want our communities to thrive despite the lack of resources they normally enjoy, we need to do our part to help out. I know that our school library has already spent their entire budget for the year. They have new books, but will not have any more titles until next fall. Any of the new, exciting titles that may entice a reluctant reader to spend time reading will have to wait. This is a sad fact.

I know that I have seen a rise in the amount of reading that my students are doing. I have been so thrilled to see them enjoying SSR time and choosing a huge variety of reading material. I know that I need to keep them going with fresh, current reads and am willing to sacrifice the cost of a couple of Young Adult titles per month to maintain this pro-reading trend. Plus, there's nothing more exciting for me than to know that my students have a whole range of titles and genres to choose from.

Sadly, I have read more bad news than good in the last year or so. Thanks to Anne Patchett for this fresh look at the potential benefits to this horrible economy!

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