When I started as a librarian, one of my jobs was to buy books for my library. I really liked that part of my job. One thing that became clear was that certain books went with certain communities and in certain locations. For instance, since my community had a lot of families with young children, and relatively few retirees, I always purchased more materials for children and topics of interest for families. I always purchased large print books, but if I had to choose between a new large print title or a new picture book, or the hottest new young adult title, the choice was simple!
Thorndike Press has always been a leading publisher in the large print format. Until recently, “large print” equated to “senior services.” However, Thorndike discovered several studies suggesting that the large print format has considerable advantages for young readers. For instance, children struggling with reading see exceptional improvement in SRA reading test evaluations when switching over to large print. In addition, young readers seem to exhibit better comprehension when reading large print books. Plus, many simply seem to prefer this format!
I saw this firsthand at our most recent teen literature and arts festival, LitUp 2019, where attendees received free books. While the attendees were not reluctant readers (quite the opposite!), they did seem to gravitate to the large print books that Thorndike had provided as part of their event sponsorship. Even teens that like to read prefer the large print format!
It really is easy to find large print books at MCPL. As you likely know, nearly all our branches have designated large print sections. However, it is pretty easy to search our catalog for available large print titles by using the advanced search feature. Once on the Advanced Search page, scroll down to the Collection dropdown menu. From there, you can limit your search to Adult Large Print, Adult Large Print Nonfiction, or Young Adult Large Print Fiction.
So, what does all this mean?
First, if you want to be like the cool hipster teens, apparently, you want to read large print books!
Second, while reading large print may seem like a signal to some people that AARP membership is on the horizon, large print holds no such stigma for younger readers. Millennial readers (and younger) merely see large print as a “customized experience,” not unlike other experiences in learning and life.
Finally, if you know reluctant readers of any age, suggest that they try a large print book. We all know that reading fosters critical thinking and stimulates the mind in important ways. So why not do something that enhances the experience? Try large print!
Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director & CEO