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DiscoverREAD 2018 symbolizes more than a place

It has been said that “He who loves reading has everything within his reach.”  That’s good news for the children benefiting from the DiscoverREAD initiative offered at five Memphis Public Library branches. Baptist sponsors DiscoverREAD at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, which alone sees an average of 80 people a day taking advantage of this program.

In early 2018, Memphis Public Libraries staff collected surveys from caretakers interacting with children in DiscoverREAD environments. More than half were collected from the library’s largest branch, the same branch whose program Baptist sponsors. Here are a few results:

  • 40% of survey respondents reported they own 40 or more books. (DiscoverREAD also serves the 15% of families who own fewer than five books.)
  • 31% of caretakers reported that time spent on activities prevents them from reading with their children. But 94% of survey respondents bring their child or children to a Memphis Public Libraries branch at least once a month, and 40% visit a branch once a week.
  • 86% of caretakers feel more likely to read or write more frequently with their children at home after visiting the DiscoverREAD space.
  • 92% of caretakers learn new things to do with their children while spending time together in DiscoverREAD centers.
  • And maybe most importantly, 96% of caretakers believe time spent in DiscoverREAD environments better prepares their children for school.

“While sometimes it can be challenging to measure investment in libraries, these results demonstrate positive impact,” said Memphis Library Foundation Executive Director Diane Jalfon.

And that’s a good read for anybody.