Best Of The Web
“How do you measure joy? Can we calculate the pleasure of learning to read? Is it possible to quantify the satisfaction of reading an amazingly good book?
For the third year in a row, the Trump administration is trying to revoke all federal funding from public libraries. The idea, to many readers, is categorically absurd. But readers or not, we live in a world where economic realities demand facts and figures. Multiple studies show libraries’ positive economic impact, but when it comes to measuring the success of city-wide reading programs like One City, One Book and Big Read, often there’s no number to be had.
In 1998, former Seattle Public Library Executive Director Nancy Pearl founded If All Seattle Read the Same Book, a public initiative to get the city’s then 536,978 residents to, well, read the same book. At the time, the goal was to improve literacy, a number that can be measured over time. By 2005, the program’s seventh year, Seattle had become the most literate city in the nation. Today the goal and name of the initiative are slightly different: The library site says Seattle Reads is “designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."
"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."
"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."
"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."
"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."
"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."
"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."
"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."