The Dallas Public Library has developed new ways to get more people into reading, providing several services to help residents increase their literacy.
One of these is a newsletter service that gives users suggested reading lists. There are 24 newsletter topics, including fiction, mystery, romance, horror, and travel.
According to the website, users can also fill out a questionnaire about their specific interests to receive personalized recommendations from a librarian in about a week.
According to Literacy Texas, Texas ranks 46th in the U.S. with an 81% adult literacy rate. In addition, a study in The Economist revealed that increasing literacy scores by just 1% relative to the international average could raise labor productivity by 2.5% and boost the country’s GDP by 1.5%.
Experts have further observed the benefits of increasing literacy on a national scale.
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy observed in 2020 that raising each American adult to a sixth-grade reading level would add $2.2 trillion to the nation’s income. Moreover, large cities such as Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York could benefit by as much as a 10% boost to their GDPs if reading comprehension increased to this level.
“America’s low literacy crisis is largely ignored, historically underfunded, and woefully under-researched, despite being one of the great solvable problems of our time,” British A. Robinson, president and CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation, told Forbes magazine in 2020.
A national survey conducted in 2022 also revealed that reading habits in Americans shifted after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study monitored the reading habits of 1,621 adults and suggested that literacy and reading were declining in the U.S.
Results indicated that 48.5% of adults surveyed had not read a book in more than a year. Adults aged 45-54 had the highest rate of non-readers — almost 61% — and those 65 and older had the highest rate of print readers, about 45%.
Researchers in this study attributed the drop in reading rates to an increased focus on digital media, the declining popularity of reading, the cost of books, and the pace of the current world.
That link to Literacy Texas is worth looking at.
“Texas ranks 46/50 for adult literacy.”…That is problematic in a major way.
Theft and Literacy
A few decades ago, I owned a wholesale/retail bookstore chain operation doing 3 million a year in sales. One million a year was equally in checks, cash and credit cards.
Being frugal with percentage fees, I did not use an electronic check verification service. We only wrote down the driver’s license # while verifying the address.
Each year, in uncollected bad checks, the amount was never over $100.
This is from one million dollars worth of checks.
I kid you not…the statistic surprised me each year.
If a check bounced, a person in the office would handwrite a short letter with a stamped return envelope. The note read: “Oops. Your check bounced. This can happen to any of us. Please enclose __ amount in the return envelope.”
To be fair, books are not a favored “stealable item”.
When I was in the apparel business, clothing was a favored thing to steal.