A reflection on reading

I did something this summer for only the second time in my life; I finished a novel by reading it from the first to the final page. I had accomplished this same feat once before using dailylit’s email system. As a reader, I find myself frequently flipping ahead, impatient to have questions or problems resolved, regardless of how compelling I find the story to be. The novel that I completed is irrelevant; what struck me was the format of the book; it was my first attempt at using an e-reader.  The experience led me to reflect on how this personal discovery could inform my readers advisory interactions in the future.

In the past when library members have asked for recommendations I have focused exclusively on print versions of materials that could meet their interests. On occasion I might have searched for a title, and somewhat apologetically indicated that an e-version was available; would that be an option? Now, in response to what I believe e-books might have to offer readers, I hope to have a more robust discussion – about their reading experiences and styles. Some questions might include:

  1. Do you read books from start to finish? Or, do you flip ahead in novels?

  2. Do you re-read books? Would you be willing to try re-reading something in e-format?

  3. Have you tried reading in a different genre?

  4. Would you consider trying to read an ebook? (This presumes that the library patron either has access to their own computer or tablet, or that your library system has implemented a lending program)

Not all readers will be interested in discussing their reading styles and biases, but for those who are, I believe ebooks will provide a further opportunity to explore, and perhaps change, established habits. For readers like me there might be an opportunity to read a book from start to finish, or to try short stories, or to try re-reading in e-format as the physical experience might change the reading experience. Perhaps it will be easier to try new genres – when you don’t know have the physical reminder of how much is left to read perhaps you can focus more on the words that are in front of you.  I realised that a change in format resulted in a change of reading style – so, go wild! Challenge yourself to try a different reading style – if you have never flipped ahead, give it a try!

Submitted by Jennifer Wilson, Librarian at Richmond Public Library

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