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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

ALA correspondence goes to jlarue [at] ala [dot] org. Phone: 3 1 2 . 2 8 0 . 4 2 2 2
Please direct all other communications to jlarue [at] jlarue [dot] com. Phone: 7 2 0 . 5 3 0 . 4 2 9 4

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Book deserts in the US

Unite for Literacy has put up an interactive map describing something I think should be shared widely: an interactive map of some 9,000 public library communities around the nation. Click on it to find the percentage of books in each service area household. A "book desert" is defined as a geographic region where more than 50% of the homes have less than 100 books. Book deserts are places where we can predict a whole host of things, like lower literacy, lower reading scores in school, lower academic achievement, lower graduation rates, lower educational attainment generally, and lower wages. These things are themselves linked to other things such as childhood health, longevity, and the likelihood of going to jail.

You can find the map here. Note that they also include areas of book abundance.

Full disclosure: they also put a link to my campaign for ALA president, at least until May 1, when then campaign is over! (And did you vote?) But no money changed hands, and I had nothing to do with the creation of the map. It's worth sharing widely, quite apart from their kind endorsement.

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