Reading Matters / Edition 1

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Drawing upon data published in a variety of scholarly journals, monographs in education, cultural studies, media studies, and libraries and information studies, as well as their own research findings, these authors shatter some of the popular myths about reading and offer a cogent case for the library's vital role in the life of a reader. By providing a road map to research findings on reading, reader-response, audiences, genres, the value of popular culture, the social nature of reading, and the role of libraries in promoting literacy and reading, this guide offers a clear rationale for making pleasure reading a priority in the library and in schools.

The authors assert that reading for pleasure is as vital as ever; and that it is, and should be, woven into the majority of activities librarians consider fundamental: reference, collection building, provision of leisure materials, readers' advisory services, storytelling programs, adult literacy programs, and the like. Reading Matters covers myths about reading, the boy problem, reading and identity, how readers select books, and reading as a social activity. An essential resource for library administrators and personnel, the book will help them convey a message about the importance of reading to grant-funding agencies and others. It contains powerful proof that can be used to justify the establishment, maintenance, and growth of fiction (and other pleasure reading) collections, and of readers' advisory services. It is also of interest to LIS faculty who wish to establish/maintain courses in readers' advisory, and can be used as supplemental reading in these classes. Finally, it is a great model and aide for additional research on this topic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

"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

"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."



"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

"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

This resource, written and compiled by researchers from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, is a survey of research related to reading organized and addressed primarily to the needs of librarians and professionals. 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. Each topical section is further subdivided and provides a summary of research related to the topic, case studies, or case summaries that illustrate the topic, lists of areas of intervention (aimed primarily at teachers, librarians, and parents), suggestions for further reading, and bibliographic references. The authors do a fine job of summarizing recent research, and at points, compare the professional opinions of the past to contemporary practices. The reading suggestions are well annotated and would be of interest to general readers, and the sectional reference lists provide inspiration for researchers. The only criticism one might make involves its wide scope; because the authors sought to summarize and incorporate a great deal of research and information, there is little room for critical commentary or more in-depth analysis. In the introduction, the authors do not specify the parameters of their literature reviews. Perhaps focusing on a narrower span of work would have allowed for moments of critical evaluation. In the preface, the authors write that the goal of the book is to "provide a map to the research findings." With regard to the landscape the authors describe, it is a wide, wide world. 2006, Libraries Unlimited, 278p.; Index. Biblio. FurtherReading., $32. Ages adult professional.
—Amy S. Pattee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591580669
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 937,980
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

CATHERINE SHELDRICK ROSS, Professor and Dean of the School of Library and Information Studies, 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.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The company of readers 1
Ch. 2 Becoming a reader : childhood years 63
Ch. 3 Young adults and reading 101
Ch. 4 Adult readers 133
In conclusion : reading becomes you 243
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