Monday, October 22, 2007

Who says teens don't read?

Who says teens don't read?
Teens say they're attracted to the printed word because today's literature honestly reflects their lives.

By Erinn Hutkin, The Roanoke Times, October 23, 2007

* A poll of 1,200 12- to 18-year-olds done this year for the American Library Association found that 31 percent visit the public library more than 10 times a year, and 70 percent use their school library more than once a month.
* Of those who regularly use libraries, 78 percent indicated they borrowed books or other materials for personal use; 60 percent said they did so from school libraries.
* According to the Public Library Data Service Statistical Report, nearly 90 percent of public libraries surveyed offer young adult programs, with more than half — 51.9 percent — employing at least one full-time worker dedicated to young adult programs and services. In 1995, just 11 percent of libraries had employees dedicated to youth services.

Despite the Internet, video games and technological pastimes, teens are still reading. In fact, from 1999 to 2005, teen book sales increased 23 percent, said Albert Greco, a Fordham University marketing professor and publishing expert.

With the emergence of cable TV, children are exposed to adult topics at an earlier age. YA novel "themes and the characters are far more mature than Sweet Valley friends," Greco said. "Kids tend to grow up faster, and the publishers saw this and put the product out." "Kids want books that reflect their real lives," he said. "It's OK to write about kids who have problems."

Teens spend $170 billion annually: toward music and movies and books. Most teens spendstime on the Internet but find reading more fulfilling. And while teens have electronic options, technology can bring teens closer to books. For instance, they can order literature online. Authors now create MySpace pages for themselves and their books. Blasingame predicts the connection between the book and the game will change attitudes about reading. "I think the Internet is enhancing reading," he said.

Public Library Association. (2008). Public Library Data Services Statistical Report. Chicago: ALA

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