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National Endowment for the Arts

To Read or Not to Read

The National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) recently published report “To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence” provides a comprehensive overview of national reading trends. According to NEA Chairman, Dana Gioia, “the story the data tell is simple, consistent, and alarming. Although there has been measurable progress in recent years in reading ability at the elementary school level, all progress appears to halt as children enter their teenage years. There is a general decline in reading among teenage and adult Americans. Most alarming, both reading ability and the habit of regular reading have greatly declined among college graduates.”

The report identifies a troubling decline in voluntary reading, and notes that this decline has social, economic and civic impacts.

Should college and university libraries be doing more to promote voluntary reading? If so, what should we be doing?

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