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Only 37% of Poles read a book in 2017


delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
21 Apr 2017  #1
Spotted this piece of news, and I think it's worth sharing. Does anyone have any ideas on how Polish people can be encouraged to read more?

I'd suggest that libraries should play more of a role in communities, and should be located in places with parking and public transport facilities so that everyone can access them. I'd also suggest that children should be taken to the local library as much as possible, and people working there should be trained to work with children.

I used to cooperate with a library where the director was very enthusiastic about children, encouraging them to visit as much as possible - and the library in charge of the children's section was very warm and open towards visitors. It's a shame that not more libraries are like that.

Only around 37 percent of Poles read at least a single book last year, according to a report published by the Polish National Library.

thenews.pl/1/11/Artykul/303483,Only-a-third-of-Poles-read-books-report
Tlum 10 | 150
21 Apr 2017  #2
It's not shocking at all; actually the 37% appears to be very high compared to the US or Australia. Poles (and people in general) read much more online so in fact they read multiple books over a period of a year. The bad thing is what they read is mostly propaganda or fake news, so you're right that a good book a year is a must *)
OP delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
21 Apr 2017  #3
That's certainly part of it. When you look at what people are reading, it's very often simplified and dumbed down to appeal to as many people as possible, especially online. It's why I try and read Tygodnik Powszechny to practice Polish, because they aren't trying to appeal to a mass audience with their writing.
jon357 63 | 14,120
22 Apr 2017  #4
libraries should play more of a role in communities

A list's just been published of the authors whose books were most borrowed from libraries in Poland last year. Sienkiewicz was first (mostly borrowed by minors) and EL James (50 shades of grey) was a very close second.
Towarzysz
22 Apr 2017  #5
No surprise at all.

The only surprise is that the number is so high. Ignorance is common enough here.

I don't remember more than maybe 3-4 people in the last 18 months telling me about something they read rather than something/someone they hate.
spiritus 67 | 663
22 Apr 2017  #6
@delphiandomine

Good point Delphian although I'd be curious if the stats for Poland is much different to the rest of the world.

I actually find it very very sad that modern day culture is dumbed down to the extent that it is. I know people who have graduated from university and know nothing about the world or it's history and more tellingly, they don't care that they don't know :(
OP delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
22 Apr 2017  #7
I know people who have graduated from university and know nothing about the world or it's history and more tellingly, they don't care that they don't know :(

It's becoming a badge of honour to be uneducated. We saw it with the last election in the US - people were simply refusing to accept hard evidence in favour of whatever rubbish the media told them. I'd love to say that it's an issue only with the formally uneducated, but the rise of the anti-vax movement shows that even supposedly educated and sensible people are prone to believing nonsense online over scientific evidence.

Speaking about Poland specifically, it seems to me that one issue is that children simply aren't taught to enjoy literature. Much of it is dull (the new school programme is just awful, but the old one isn't fantastic) and exists to bore the life out of children. Memorisation of poems is normal, so how can children develop a love of reading if they're being forced to read for grades?

There's also a very disturbing obsession among the middle classes to regard 'creative' things as being much more important than the most basic skill of reading. I really fear for the next generation of children as a result, especially as children aren't even encouraged to simply take books and read for a while. I did some small research on this, and as part of it, I asked Polish teachers how often they took kids to the library to simply read books for an hour. The answer? "never". With role models like that - how can they ever be expected to enjoy reading for pleasure?

As much as I dislike Harry Potter as literature, at least it got kids reading.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
22 Apr 2017  #8
Only around 37 percent of Poles read at least a single book last year

Why to use this old fashioned technology? :)
terri 1 | 1,617
23 Apr 2017  #9
I believe that adults are generally fearful of reading good literature, for fear that they will not understand what at least half of the words mean. They are too lazy to find out and use the most wonderful and expressive words.

Generally, and you can see and hear this on every street in every town or city, people are less and less likely to express themselves in the most exact manner. They end up repeating stock-phrases of terms they have already heard someone else say.

A well-educated person will always know the value of reading god literature.
People always want a return on something - what's in it for me?. Well, you might learn a new word, new expression, new experience...but what does that mean to an illiterate.
WhirlwindTobias - | 88
23 Apr 2017  #10
1. Is the title supposed to say 2016? Your usage of past simple and the fact that we're only 4 months in brings it to question.

2. In the UK I'd be surprised if it reached a whole digit, I was astounded when going to Targi Książki and it was rammed with people on a Sunday and for the whole day. I dread to think how busy it was on that Saturday.

Poland is the only country where I've been in traffic and someone is reading a book in their car as opposed to their phone.
spiritus 67 | 663
23 Apr 2017  #11
I know it's a cliché but I think it is mostly down to parenting.

If mother and father don't read at home it's less likely that the child will and when that child grows up and has children of their own then the pattern repeats itself.

Same can be said for church attendance (especially in the UK)
mafketis 20 | 7,046
23 Apr 2017  #12
I think it is mostly down to parenting

It's even worse. If the parents don't like reading then they really dont want their children to read either (this from an article about research on illiteracy I read many years ago).

On British literacy went for a trip on a budget airline recently and didn't take as many books because I was sure it would be easy to find a book for the trip home on the hotel bookshelf. But although the hotel was mostly British guests (65-75 % maybe more probably 90 % white middle classish [lower end maybe]) the bookshelf had almost nothing in English (despite me checking every day) and what was there was cheap romance and more expensive romance. Most of the books were Scandinavian and misc, the book I picked up ended up being Polish...
OP delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
23 Apr 2017  #13
If the parents don't like reading then they really dont want their children to read either

Yes, and so they pass on their simplistic reading habits as a result. You can really notice it among young Korwinists, who appear to be able only to quote from a very limited selections of texts proscribed by others in their limited social circles.

One big problem in Poland at least is that there's a shocking lack of aspiration among the working classes. The idea of working hard and providing a platform for your family to go and study simply isn't there, as they expect nothing from their children.

The ex-boss of the Poznań KJO at UAM told me a few years ago about how shocked she was to discover that schools in rural areas were often operating from 7:30am to around 12, simply so children could go home and work on the farms. I remember having a great discussion with her about what could be done in such cases, as the parents themselves were openly dismissive of the need to learn English, read books and so on.


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