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Reading Matters


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A road map to the research on reading and libraries, and a cogent case for the library's vital role in the life of a reader-from childhood through adulthood.

Table of Contents

Preface The Company of Readers Becoming a Reader: Childhood Years Young Adults and Reading Adult readers Closing Index

About the Author

Catherine Sheldrick Ross, professor, faculty of information and media studies, The University of Western Ontario, teaches a course in readers' advisory, and is involved in ongoing research on reading for pleasure.Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, associate professor at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Western Ontario, is conducting a longitudinal study of the role of the public library in the lives of 30 children.Paulette M. Rothbauer, assistant professor, University of Toronto, has done extensive research on adolescent readers and the role of pleasure-reading in the discovery of identity. She is the winner of the Eugene Garfield Dissertation Competition.


"If I were a public library director in this age of Google, I'd give all my managers a copy of Reading Matters, then go on a retreat to discuss how we could better support reading for pleasure. Ross Lynne McKechnie, and Paulette Rothbauer have assembled the theory and research about reading and readers' lives from multiple disciplines and produced a much-needed book that speaks directly to practitioners about the value of reading. As a profession, our relationship to readers has been conflicted--even if all those popular fiction circulations are what often end up paying the bills. Readers' advisory, after a heyday in the early part of the 20th century, went dormant while information ruled the earth, only to begin to reemerge in the 1980s. Reading Matters explains the impact of libraries on readers' lives, points to how we can do a better job of supporting reading as a social activity, and--perhaps most important--arms us with the tools to communicate to funders and others why reading is so vital. With a chapter on reading and children (series and 'the boy problem') and young adults (reading and identity), this is a 'must-read' for all public librarians." - Library Journal, Starred Review
"In this title, the authors examine research findings on the library's role in fostering reading and draw a clear connection between reading for pleasure and reading success. Various topics and aspects of reading habits and preferences are considered, including series books, boys and reading, reading and identity, and best-seller lists. Especially helpful are suggestions on what libraries can do." - Curriculum Connections
"Reading research tends to focus on the act of reading. What makes this volume unique is its reader-centric lens. For a fine synthesis of the research, with ideas for applying the findings, this work is a good source of information." - Education Libraries
"Place this book alongside Krashen's on your shelf, and consult it when you are preparing presentations about the value of teacher-librarians and their impact on literacy. Essential." - Teacher Librarian
"Drawing from both historical and recent research, the authors address theories of reading as a practice, the developing reading of children and young adults, and the reading habits of adults....[o]f interest to general readers, and the sectional reference lists provide inspiration for researchers." - VOYA
"Drawing upon a wealth of published data, this book synthesizes current knowledge on pleasure or leisure reading, the role of public libraries in supporting literacy, and community backing for libraries. Inspired by the latest research as well as by myths surrounding the declining rates of reading and literacy among youth, the authors place findings within the context of the important roles that public libraries have played, are playing, and should continue to play in fostering literacy and lifelong reading....Recommended reading for library administrators, staff, and students." - Booklist/Professional Reading
"Rose et al. have written an authoritative and useful book for exploring how and why readers of all ages respond to books. Their research offers advisors a firm foundation from which to examine the reading experience." - Reference & User Services Quarterly

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