By Tiffani Stewart
St. Charles City-County Library
Americans spent less time reading and more time watching T.V. last year than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Sept, 2018), people in the U.S. spent an average of 2 hours and 46 minutes per day watching T.V. or movies at home and approximately 16 minutes reading for pleasure.
You may think that these results mainly come from kids glued to their screens all day, but surprisingly, the population that watches the most T.V. are those ages 65 and over (averaging 4 hours and 23 minutes per day). Gretchen Livingston at the Pew Research Center notes that “those 60 and older now spend more than half of their daily leisure time in front of screens, mostly watching T.V. or videos. Meanwhile, the time that these older adults spend on other recreational activities, such as reading or socializing, has ticked down.” In fact, the percentage of reading for pleasure each day in this age group has dropped from 53% in 2003 to 37% in 2018 (American Time Use Survey, June, 2019).
So what? Dad worked hard his whole life and he loves his T.V. time. Why should we care that he is watching T.V. for a good portion of the day? Unfortunately, for Dad and others, this rise in screen time means that many may be lacking the mental health benefits of reading, and the benefits are significant! A 2015 study by the Centre for Research into Reading (University of Liverpool) discovered that adults who read for pleasure regularly experience heightened cognitive stimulation, fewer feeling of stress and depression, greater understanding and empathy with others, and stronger awareness of social issues and cultural diversity.
But turning on the T.V. is easy and books take a little more effort. While kids who are reluctant readers often have teachers or parents who are willing to reward them for finishing books, adults must find intrinsic reasons for reading. How can we motivate ourselves to read more? Here are some of the reasons why book lovers read for fun:
• Curiosity: a desire to learn about a particular topic of personal interest.
Because there may not be a T.V. show about it, but there’s almost always a book!
• Engagement: discovering certain books, authors, or informational text that make us want to read more.
Many of us have favorite authors or series or topics. We look forward to new book releases.
• Challenge: meeting a goal or tackling a particular task.
It can be satisfying to tackle a reading goal or a difficult book and complete it.
In short, adult readers will likely engage in books based solely on personal interest and the sense of pleasure that they get from what they read. That means that adults need GREAT BOOKS that interest or challenge them. Luckily, the Library has a few to choose from.
If you’re an older adult (or you hope to someday become an older adult), have books – and lots of them – at the ready. Books should be as accessible in your home as T.V. Come to the Library often for a great selection (or browse our eLibrary to get books on the very devices that make T.V. so easy to use)!
Satisfy your curiosity about a topic – birdwatching, battles of the Civil War, spirituality, cooking – by reading books. Want to get more engaged in books? Ask Library staff for recommendations based on authors or genres that you already enjoy. If you have read everything by your favorite author, ask for “read-alikes” that may help you discover a new author or series. Ready to challenge yourself? Try the Library Foundation’s “Take 20 and Read” program to encourage reading every day, or join a Book Discussion Group that will encourage you to try new titles you may not select on your own. Join our online “What’s Next?” Library Book Challenge (search for “St. Charles City-County Library” on Facebook) to read different genres and authors.
If you’re a serious T.V. viewer, ask yourself if you’re really enjoying everything that you watch. If you are, good for you! But chances are, you’re watching lots of reruns or programs that you may not even necessarily like. Take a trip to the Library to rediscover reading for pleasure. While you’re there, check out these classes and events, coming to the Boone’s Trail and Augusta Branch Libraries:
• Let’s Create: Pumpkin Painting* (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Oct. 1st, 4:00 p.m.
Decorate a mini pumpkin at the library. Register the whole family for a boo-tiful afternoon.
• An Evening Concert with Paul Ovaitt & Laura Unleashed (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 7th, 6pm
Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the outdoors as you tap your feet to a blend of American and Brazilian music with Paul Ovaitt and native Brazilian, Laura Werner.
• I Love Quilts (Augusta), Tues., Oct. 1st, 10:00 a.m.
Bring your Show and Tell project, and don’t forget Block of the Month when you join other quilting lovers like you!
• Make It Sew: Scrapbuster Fall Pillow* (Augusta),
Part One: Thurs., Oct. 3rd, 4:30 p.m.
Part Two: Thurs., Oct. 17th, 4:30 p.m.
Create a fun fall pillow during this two-session workshop. You will receive a materials supply list when you register.
• Game On! (Augusta), Thurs., Oct. 17th, 5:30
Drop in and choose your favorite from a variety of board games available. Play at the library!
• Social Security Strategies Workshop* (Boone’s Trail), Sat., Oct. 12th, 9:30 a.m.
Bring your questions to a benefits workshop. Learn what you need to know about social security and the strategies you can use to maximize your income.
• English Paper Piecing* (Augusta), Tues., Oct. 15th, 4:00 p.m.
Bring a sewing needle, thread, and small scissors to learn the art of English Paper Piecing, a quilting technique that allows for beautiful and intricate designs.
• New Melle Nonfiction Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), , Oct. 17th, 10:00 a.m.
Examine the life of a working poor family in Heartland: a Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh and join us for a discussion about the class divide in America.
• Witch Shoe Decoration* (Augusta), Thurs., Oct. 17th, 5:00 p.m.
Transform an old shoe into an adorable Halloween decoration. All supplies provided.
• Augusta Book Discussion* (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 21st, 2:00 p.m.
Four sisters dive and roll into American vaudeville in The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay. Pick up your copy at the library so you don’t miss a rollicking discussion.
• Wine Cork Pumpkin* (Augusta), Thurs., Oct. 24th, 5:00 p.m.
Transform wine corks into a fall decoration with paint and glue. All supplies provided.
• Let’s Play Crazy Rummy* (Boone’s Trail), Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
Ready for rummy? Kick off your week with fun and friends at the library.
• Write Your Life Story* (Augusta), Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
This weekly group will help you write your life story. At each session you’ll receive a topic to work on. Stay motivated and accountable. Your loved ones will thank you.
• Coffee at the Library (Augusta), Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.
Join the regulars for coffee and conversation every Thursday morning.
• Hand and Foot Canasta* (Boone’s Trail), Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.
It’s easy to make friends and have fun! Keeping track of two decks of cards (a hand and a foot)? With practice, that’s easy too. Beginners welcome.
• Yarn Arts (Augusta), Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
Are you a yarn artist? If you knit, crochet, embroider, or cross stitch, join us to finish your next project.
• Let’s Create: Pumpkin Magnets (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 7th, drop in all day
Don’t be afraid, but a seemingly ordinary rock can become a jack o’lantern magnet with a little paint and decoration. Crafting magic!
• Discovery Kids: Butter* (Boone’s Trail) Mon., Oct. 7th, 5:00 p.m.
How best to learn about butter? By making and tasting, of course.
• Story Time (Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Oct. 10th, 10:30 a.m.
Mon., Oct. 21st, 6:00 p.m. (Wear tourist traveling clothes!)
Thurs., Oct. 24th, 10:30 a.m.
Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 3-6.
• Tale Waggers: Read to a Dog* (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Oct. 15th, 6:00 p.m.
Did you know that reluctant readers can gain confidence by reading to a dog? Bring a book (or choose one of ours) to share with a friendly attentive dog from “Love on a Leash”.
• Let’s Experiment: Pumpkin Seed Count (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 22nd, 3:00 p.m.
It’s been three weeks since school age kids were invited to guess the number of seeds in our pumpkin. Stop by for the big reveal! Will your estimate be closest?
• Let’s Explore: Avid Adventurers* (Boone’s Trail) Thurs., Oct. 24th, 5:30 p.m.
Explore ancient and modern-day Peru through reading and playing. (Grades 1-5)
• Let’s Create: Haunted House Surprise (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 28th, 1:00 p.m.
This lift-the-flap design (with stickers) will surprise little crafters with fun!
• Let’s Create: Pumpkin Magnets (Augusta), Mon., Oct. 7th, drop in all day
Even teens and tweens will enjoy the magic of a seemingly ordinary rock becoming a jack o’lantern magnet with a little paint and decoration.
*Register at myLibrary.org or call Boone’s Trail at 636-398-6200 or Augusta at 636-228-4855.
The Boone’s Trail and Augusta branches are open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon.
**All library branches will be closed on Monday, Oct. 14th for Staff Development Day.