Despite high illiteracy rate, books are being read - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Despite high illiteracy rate, books are being read

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Fourteen-percent of American adults can't read, but in Dougherty County the rate is 20%. Despite that number and the fact that Albany has only one general book store, some folks tell us there's a lot of reading going on here.

Books-A-Million is the only non-Christian new book store in Albany, and despite the area's low literacy rate, traffic is high.

 "Reading is always a good thing and I never tell him no when it comes to buying him a book," said concerned parent Shawn Smith.

With only one book store in town, selection doesn't compare to somewhere like Orlando.

"They definitely have a larger variety because I was looking for him a magic book and they had a tiny section for magic books, in Orlando they have an entire wall," said Smith.

While Dougherty County's illiteracy rate is estimated at 20%, it was as high as 31% in 2000. Despite the rate many are flocking to the library.

"This is the highest circulation rate of any library I've ever worked in. Dougherty County patrons use this library very heavily," said Teresa Cole, Dougherty County Library Director.

It works out to about six books checked out a year for everyone in Dougherty County. With the tough economy, the library has seen more people taking advantage of their free resources.

"Computers, very heavily used especially this year because the economy has worsened," said Cole.

Technology has what were once book lovers, finding material online. "I might download every once in a while, especially since I'm in college so I'm using a lot of electronic sources,"  said Albany Tech Student Crystal Ford.

To keep people coming through the doors, both the library and book stores are also providing technology like audio or E-Books to keep readers interest.

Circulation at the Dougherty County Library is up 1.2% over last year. There are two Christian book stores in Albany in addition to Books-A-Million and the college book stores.

 

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