UBC Library and Archives

Reading Practices in a Digital World : Two Case Studies Howard, Vivian


One Book, One Community (OBOC) programs represent an intersection of traditional forms of reading and reading practices with communication technologies of the twenty-first century. OBOCs aim is to create community through book-related interactions. In particular, digital technologies can be used to unite geographically disparate people in ephemeral communities – i.e., people who are not necessarily local to one another – through the practice of shared reading. Begun in 2012, One Book Nova Scotia (1BNS) is organized by Libraries Nova Scotia, and is described on the program’s website as “a province-wide community reading event for adults” (1BNS.ca). The 1BNS website states that the program has four goals: 1) to encourage reading and contribute to the development of a reading culture in Nova Scotia; 2) to create opportunities for social interaction and community development; 3) to support life-long learning; 4) to allow those in the literary community to work together and develop stronger relationships. Formally programmed events have included the book announcement and launch, a series of author readings, and book discussions. Participants in 2013 were also encouraged to utilize Twitter as a mechanism for discussion and information hub for the program. This case study analyses the success of the One Book Nova Scotia program in achieving its goals of developing a reading culture and community in the province of Nova Scotia based on the findings of a participant survey and an analysis of the Twitter discussion. The paper concludes with some recommendations to improve the effectiveness of future programs. The second case study focuses on reading apps for preschool children. As a new technology, interactive multimedia reading apps for young children have not been the focus of much previous research and our understanding of their use is limited. The objective of this recent research project is to gauge parents’ and caregivers’ perceptions of reading apps for preschool children. This research project investigates the extent to which parents/caregivers are choosing reading apps for their children, what factors they take into consideration when choosing reading apps, and what they consider to be the benefits and drawbacks of this technology in encouraging their children to enjoy reading for pleasure.

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