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Do digital devices enhance teenagers’ recreational reading engagement? Issues for library policy from a recent study in two Australian states
journal contributionposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Leonie RutherfordLeonie Rutherford, Andrew SingletonAndrew Singleton, Leonee Derr, Margaret Merga
Digital platforms have become central to twenty-first century education, culture, and government, and libraries devote an increasing proportion of budgets to acquisitions of e-resources. This research reports on a recent project which investigated Australian teenagers’ use of traditional print and digital platforms for long-form recreational reading. Specifically, it investigates whether digital devices are a preferred modality for Australian adolescents’ recreational reading and if access to digital devices with e-reading capabilities, such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers, and laptop or desktop computers, is associated with more reading engagement by avid and reluctant readers. The research, based on a diverse sample of urban and regional participants from two states, suggests that Australian adolescents’ preferences for e-books have been largely overestimated. Issues of relevance to public libraries are discussed.