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The National Library has published a readership survey for 2015. The number of people who did not read any books in 2015 is much higher compared to last year’s survey.

old book, a pair of glasses and a lantern

How many books did you read last year?

The readership survey has been conducted by TNS for the Polish National Library using computer-assisted interview questionnaire (CAPI) on a representative sample of approx. 3000 Poles aged at least 15.

Fewer Poles read books

The survey shows that there was an increase in the number of people who do not read books at all. 63.1% of respondents admitted that in 2015 they did not read a single book. In comparison with 2014, the number has grown by 4.8% (from 58.3%).

27.2% of respondents said that in 2015 they read 1-6 books (28.7% in 2014.) and only 8.4% of respondents declared that they read 7 or more books in the past year (11.3% in 2014.).

As many as 18% of the surveyed admitted to never reading any books, 57% used to read them only at school or college, and later stopped, and 25% used to read more in the past, but have recently been less likely to reach for a book.

In the TNS survey 45.6% of respondents admitted that in the month preceding the visit of the pollster they had read a text of more than 3 typewritten pages. In comparison, in 2014 the percentage was 51.4%, and in 2012 – 57.9%.

Social patterns

As the authors of the study point out, the diversification of reading practices can be described, in simple terms, using the cumulation rule: from a statistical point of view, taking up one of the activities (eg. reading newspapers or longer texts) is conducive to others (eg. reading on the Internet or reading books).

From a statistical point of view, both greater involvement in reading practices and daily contact with other readers, are associated with a higher position in the hierarchy of education, greater satisfaction with one’s work situation and more stable employment.

The study commissioned by the National Library shows that readers socialise mainly with other people who read books. Nine out of ten respondents whose relatives do not read, also never reach for a book. Just as in the surveys from the years 2012 and 2014, also in 2015 there were noticeable environmental conditions for reading practices: readers grow up and spend their time primarily among other readers.

Omnireaders and people outside the written word culture

The survey authors have singled out two types of respondents: omnireaders and people outside the written word culture. Omnireaders are people who in the month before the survey had read a text of at least three typed pages, one book over the last year (whole or in passages), at least one newspaper or magazine or news on the Internet. People outside the written word culture are people who have not taken up any of these activities.

Omnireaders constitute 22% of the respondents, while the other group – 14%.

Books read by the surveyed, unless they come from a home library, are usually borrowed from friends or bought. More than 1/3 of the readers have indicated each of these sources. The second most common source were library books and gift books. The importance of books downloaded from the Internet (at least in the survey answers) remains minimal.

A similar study on a representative sample of Polish citizens aged 15 and more has been conducted at the request of the National Library every two years since 1992, and from 2014 – annually.

Last year, the Polish Ministry of Education started the National Readership Development Programme to support schools and libraries in encouraging young people to read more books.

 

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