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  • I think with the amount of media the average person is exposed to daily, and the amount of reading one does during their working day, by the time they have time to "enjoy" a book, they may be too tired or have "print overload." I read a local newspaper each morning along with my daily Bible reading, and then at work I am reading email, etc. throughout the day, then come home and catch up on personal email, and the social media that I am involved with. By the time I am caught up with that, it may already be time for bed or I am so "read out" I just want to sit with hubby and watch some TV together. The Barna article is just a report on reading books; but people have so many ways to experience "reading" other than a printed book, and I don't have a problem with that at all. I do understand Eva Nell's thoughts on reading a printed book, but we live in an age when we have multiple formats available to read or to hear. 150 years ago, we were limited in transportation to horse & buggy or boat or train. Now we also have planes, jets, helicopters, buses, trolleys/electric rail, ocean liners, etc., even bikes and skate boards. Who among us would say we should use  horse & buggy most every day? (Maybe the carriage builders or the blacksmiths who make horseshoes?!) I do think printed books are here to stay, at least for another generation or two. I don't worry about HOW people are reading, but rather THAT they are reading, and WHAT they are reading. That's more important than the format. I think with many of us (especially older folks), if we don't see a physical book, it doesn't seem like a "real" book (and hence, "real reading") to us. Maybe what we're really evaluating is whether it is genuine reading or not; focused reading - sitting, fully concentrated rather than reading in bits rather than on the run, and in bits and pieces as one might do when "reading" a book on their phone or ereader in spare moments throughout the day. And many of us in the older generation have an emotional attachment to physical books, built on years of use and memories associated with them. We love the visual "wealth" of a bookcase(es) filled with books we've read or plan to. Some that we've loved and read over and over are like old friends - we recognize our copy like we might recognize a friend from afar by their clothing. You just don't have that visual wealth, that emotional connection with an ereader.

    There's also the aspect of the personal connection of pulling a book from the shelf (as the librarian) and sharing it with a potential reader, or checking it out at the circ desk. It's just not the same connection when the reader looks through an online catalog and then downloads an ebook - the point of human connection with library personnel is no longer needed. And making connections with other humans - isn't that, in a sense why we read fiction? To read how the characters make the human connection to each other? Isn't that the essence of story? Perhaps that's what Eva Nell and many of us are concerned about - that lack of personal connection in the library. Thoughts?

  • Buford, you bring up a good point about the community college library. When I went back to college, the community college librarian told us they were there not only for the students but for the community. While most people don't think about or use the community college library unless they are students, those of us who pay taxes to support them should certainly consider using it if we have a desire or need to, and if the library does allow the public to use them. (Ask!) As for your situation Buford, why not ask if they have a "Life-long Learners" program (classes for senior citizens) and perhaps for a small fee, you can get a library card as a student as  one of the senior groups, then you should be able to use the ebooks.

  • The question "Where do you most often get our books?" is interesting to me!! That is the main reason I posted this report. Notice how significant the library is in these results for all age levels. For me, that is something to celebrate!!

  • The Barna Update on reading ebooks and "real" books was very interesting. I tend to disagree about Christians checking out non-fiction books. In our church library the library patrons prefer fiction first, biography second, and non-fiction third.

    Our circulation is adequate but not for a membership of 10-12,000. We have 15,000 plus books, books on cd, and dvd's in the library itself. We have a book giveaway from time to time to glean our shelves and when we do people come out of the woodwork, ones I've never seen before in the library. I've been volunteering for 36 years. My question is, how do we get people's noses out of their kindles or in front of the tv ??

  • I'm not familiar with the Barna group, so I did a bit of gooling. If there are others in the same situation as I the web site is   It shows a frame for a number of his reports. Click on the frame for The State of Books ... (or what you are interested in.)

    Searching on Barna on this site found only this posting.

    I haven't spent much time on the Barna Report. My feeling is that the printed page is going to be with us for a long time. I've never listened to a book-on-tape. Maybe if my eyes continue to deteriate. One problem with ebooks is the multiple formats and some publishers not producing any e formats. Then there is the digital rights thing. And the road blocks in the way of church libraries making them available.

    Example of ebook problem I experienced: Local community college has a good selection of technical ebooks and printed books. I was interested in one that was available only as an ebook. I have a library card, but the contract between the college and the ebook distributor requires that the books can only be checked out to registered students.

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