Are we to blame?

I read an interesting comment in the Letters to the Editor section of School Library Journal this month and it made me pause. A reader suggested that as we as librarians are lamenting that young people no longer want to read actual books in actual brick and mortar libraries, we’re actually the ones to blame for this because of all of our pushing of electronic devices and new tech. Good point? Maybe.

Is it because of Kindles, Nooks, and iPads that young people are reading less? Or is it just something that is happening despite our best efforts? Are ebooks getting reluctant readers to actually read? I’ve seen how using iPod touches and iPads do help lower level readers engage more with books, but I don’t know if they’re hurting us when it comes to getting these same young people to come into the library on their own.

I would argue that readers are readers no matter how they consume their books. I know some avid readers who prefer reading on handheld devices, and I know some people like me who prefer actual books. So I don’t know if it’s fair to share we’ve turned young people off books by pushing e-readers. I’ve only seen positive experiences come from using handheld devices with students, and I do think reaching out to them with these tools helps them feel less intimidated by us and our libraries.

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