I’m Average!

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If you’ve met me, talked to me or ever read this blog, you know I’m a certified bibliophile(that’s book lover, for those of you who aren’t also bibliophiles).

I just received this interesting article about the reading habits of those who work through the Natl. Library Services. NLS is where I get all my books on tape and, dare I say, the organization that has educated, enlightened and entertained me for the last 15 or so years. I’ve always been a reader, but when I started writing, I learned to love literature in a whole new way. Turns out, I’m not the only blind person to do so! Here’s the article, done with the expert editing of yours truly(for space and only sharing with my blog readers what may actually be most interesting):

Reading Habits of Blind and Physically Handicapped Defy National Trend

Book Consumption Rates Seven Times Higher for National Library Service Patrons Than Average Sighted Readers

WASHINGTON, July 5 /PRNewswire/ — This summer, when Americans catch up on their favorite reading, they will also be enjoying a beloved American pastime that research shows is waning. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans of every age are consistently reading less. The study revealed an overall decline of 10 percent in literary reading between 1982 and 2002, totaling an overall loss of 20 million readers. Conversely, participants in the Talking Book program, a free library service provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, read more than the general population by a significant amount. The average NLS patron, an individual with a visual or physical impairment, reads seven times more than most sighted readers, or approximately 35 books a year.

These numbers not only highlight the braille and audiobook appetites of NLS patrons, but also speak to the ease in obtaining ample reading material through the Talking Book program. “NLS patrons are extremely avid readers,” says Frank Kurt Cylke, NLS director. “NLS is dedicated to fulfilling their reading needs with the highest-quality collection so they can remain engaged in literature and connected to the world around them.”

While NLS patrons have higher book consumption rates, their literary tastes do not differ from those of sighted readers, according to Jim Herndon, head of the NLS Collection Development Section. NLS librarians strive to build a well-rounded collection that meets readers’ diverse informational and recreational needs. “Selecting titles for the collection is a rigorous process. NLS librarians consult book reviews and bestseller lists, monitor publishing trends, and assess patron requests before choosing titles,” says Herndon. “Titles are selected based on such criteria as literary merit and popularity.”

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