Reading Communities Survey

It winds up Americans’ reading habits are slightly different, depending on where they live. A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project finds urban and suburban Americans are slightly more likely to have read a book in the last year than those in rural areas. “People in different kinds of communities have different relationships to reading and to their libraries.  In most cases the differences in urban communities, suburban communities and rural communities are driven by the types of people who live in those places.” The survey finds less than 50% of rural residents have library cards, compared to around 60% for those who live in urban and suburban areas. Project Director Lee Rainie says despite the differences, overall they have found reading is still a popular pastime. “The level of booking reading is quit high and its quit high across demographic spectrums and especially age spectrums, so reading is still a core function in many households in many communities.” How Americans read is changing, adds Rainie. “The nature of reading is changing in the era of e-books and people in different kinds of communities have different experiences of reading in part because of the use of these new devices and in part because they have different needs in their own communities.” The survey concluded that it is not necessarily living in a rural area that characterizes how people read and use libraries but it is whom the people are.