There was an article in USA Today the other day that discussed several recent studies about the benefits of reading books.
We probably all are familiar with the general findings. Reading books makes you smarter. Reading books gives you a larger vocabulary. Reading books makes you more empathetic. Reading certain books can help with certain ailments. (Although there is some debate about that one.)
Nothing in the article is actually all that new, except maybe for the fact that reading fiction books is actually “better” for you than nonfiction books. And at least the suggestion that reading printed books has healthier effects than listening to audiobooks or reading eBooks.
What makes the article important in my mind is just its appearance in a major publication. I get the feeling that people are reading books less and less. I know they are in the community we serve.
Libraries are doing a lot of different things these days to remain relevant. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. I understand the need to change with the times, to be on the cutting edge, to be able to survive in a world with Amazon and Apple and Facebook, to try to keep giving people a reason to come back.
But I think our most important responsibility sometimes gets lost among the attempt to keep up with the flashy. We need to be promoting the importance of reading books. People need to read for all of the reasons mentioned above. People need to read books so we are not stuck with a Presidential election like this year. People need to read books to make the world a better place.
And if libraries do not promote reading books, who will?
Blandford Public Library