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The 'young adult' phenomenon

The Nielsen list of the top 20 best-selling books in the first half of this year is out.

And the news is that young adult books dominate the list, starting with "Divergent" by Veronica Roth and "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. "Fault" is No. 2 in paperback, No. 5 in hard-cover and No. 6 in its movie tie-in version.

Roth's other two books, "Insurgent" and "Allegient" are at No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.

Five of the Top 20 are some version of "Frozen."

The highest ranking work of nonfiction was Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling." And the highest rank for a work of "serious" literature was No. 20 for the Pulitzer-Prize winning "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.

So, it's tempting to jump to the conclusion that -- wow! -- those teens are just reading up a storm, aren't they?

Well, nobody really knows. But, we librarians do know that a whole lot of the people who have checked out "The Fault in Our Stars" were not young adults at all. They were folks who don't have to be carded when they buy cigarettes or booze.

Want to help out?

We're looking for adults who are interested in volunteering here at the library on a regular basis.

Specifically, we are in need of help on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Morning shifts are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afternoon shifts are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

No experience in libraries is necessary.

What we'll have you doing is checking in and checking out materials and some shelving if you can do so.

If you are or someone you know is interested, please contact me at 512-847-2188 or come by the library and fill out a form.

 

Rising use of e-books

The Pew Research Center report I wrote about on Monday includes some other interesting facts about Americans and their libraries.

For example, 28 percent of Americans have read an e-book. The number is rising over time, as you would expect.

But print books continue to be popular anyway. Seventy-one percent of adults said they read a print book in 2011, and the number was at 69 percent in 2014. Not much decline there, which is good news for authors, publishers and, of course, libraries.

More on the Pew research next Monday. I'm taking 4th of July off.

Another interesting finding

Another finding from Pew Center research efforts about books should help the book publishing industry get a better grasp on what people are thinking when they want to borrow a book from a library.

Right now, several big publishers will not sell e-books to libraries, period. Their contention is that if people can borrow e-books from a library, they won't buy hard copies, and eventually the real book market will dry up.

But, Pew has found that of the 78 percent of adult Americans who read a book in the previous year (2010) a majority of print readers and readers of e-books said they prefer to buy their own copies of those books rather than borrow them.

Library users skew older?

The conventional wisdom seems to be that library patrons tend to be older people, like folks 65 and over.

That's what I've been thinking, but probably because that seems to be the case here in Wimberley, a community that looks like it's populated by a lot of seniors.

Turns out the conventional wisdom is, as so often is the case with conventional wisdom, wrong.

The Pew Research Center released data today along with a press release with this headline: "7 surprises about libraries in our surveys."

No. 1 surprise: "Each time we ask about library use, we find that those agese 65 and older are less likely to have visited a library in the past 12 months thant hose under that age. Equally as interesting is the fact that younger Americans (those ages 16-29) are just as likely to be library users as those who are older."

Other surprises have to do with e-reader use and library collections.

More on that in this space on Wednesday.