Friday, February 11, 2011

Kids Love Reading and Libraries

[Note: I'm running 3 blogs right now including this one, and as a result have been spreading myself - and my posts - a bit thin. I've therefore decided to repost the following, which I originally wrote for one of my course blogs (which you can access directly here). Since my analytics tell me very few of my readers are actually reading both blogs, I'm hoping that this will be useful, rather than redundant!]

A new study just came out on kids' reading habits (in the context of total media use/consumption) that will likely be of interest...keeping in mind that the research was commissioned by the Association of Booksellers for Children (#Considerthesource). First piece of interesting data is the first table of the article, which lists books as the most important media for children under 6 years. Though I should note that I think it's especially important to consider how the research design might be affecting the results here - the respondents for this survey were limited to adults who purchase media for children, with the one exception being the questions/answers asked about teens (for which actual teens responded). So, we might reword this as: according to parents, books are the most important media for preschool kids:
©2011 Bowker/PubTrack

Another gem is in the findings on where children get their books. You'll see that libraries figure prominently, both school and public. Interestingly, the data analysis doesn't pay much attention to the influence of librarians on children's book decisions. On the other hand, they report that "Librarians affected 24% of YA reading decisions, bookstores not so much."

©2011 Bowker/PubTrack

And in terms of series books - the source of much controversy among librarians/teachers/parents over the past several years - it may come as no surprise that when it comes to what influences teens most when it comes to selecting or buying a new book to read, the fact that the book was a sequel or the next book in a series was the primary motivation in about 61% of cases:

©2011 Bowker/PubTrack

You'll notice that "Award sticker" - though near the bottom, still figures in about 14% of the time. Lots of other useful stats in the survey - such as "women buy nearly 70% of kids' books and most purchasers fit solidly in the middle class both in terms of income and education." 

For more info, be sure to check out the original article in Publisher's Weekly.

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