Large Print Books at the library

By Sherrie DeMartino

Have you ever read a large print book?  Not for you, you say?  Think they are only for older people?  You might want to rethink that.  Large print books have actually been shown to help with literacy tools such as decoding, fluency, tracking, and comprehension.  It’s a given that the extra white space and bigger fonts of a large print book make sense for seniors or anyone who is visually impaired, but encouraging seniors to keep reading can promote positive outcomes, such as improving cognitive function and enabling them to continue to have the enjoyment of escaping into a good book!

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Large print books are often used in adult literacy programming and are great reading motivators.  The larger font and increased white space on a page help with letter and word recognition by forcing the eye to move more slowly and helping readers avoid skipping or rereading lines.  A reluctant reader will also be able to flip through the pages faster, keeping their attention and giving them a sense of accomplishment.

Many of us who are still lucky(?) enough to be in the workforce spend all day looking at a computer screen.  As you probably know, this can cause a condition called digital eye strain.  I know that when I go home, I don’t want to look at a computer screen all evening.  Large print books can offer a much-needed break from digital devices and reading glasses.  The only bad part is that when you go back to regular print, the font seems so small!

The Carroll Valley Library branch currently orders Adult Large Print books for the Adams County Library System.  We order from a company called Ingram Content Group, which is an American service provider to the book publishing industry based in La Vergne, Tennessee.  Ingram has the industry’s largest active book inventory, with access to 7.5 million titles.  The markets they serve include booksellers, librarians, educators, and specialty retailers.

The first thing that we consider when purchasing large print books is patron requests.  If the library system doesn’t own a large print book that you would like to read, you can request to borrow it from another library system (Interlibrary Loan), or if it’s a newer book, you can fill out a purchase request to see if we would consider purchasing it for our collection.  Both the Interlibrary Loan and Purchase request forms are located on our website (www.adamslibrary.org) under the services tab.  We will purchase the item if it is available on Ingram and if the reviews are favorable.

The second step is to look at Ingram’s curated lists.  Ingram provides lists of fiction and nonfiction books, organized by release date, of all of the new upcoming large print releases.  We go through this list and look for bestselling authors first.  After those are added to our order list, we look up other titles on websites such as amazon.com and in book review magazines to see which books have good reviews and might have a wide crowd appeal.

Stop in at your local branch or check out our website at www.adamslibrary.org to browse our collection of thousands of large print books!  The best part is that they are free to borrow with your library card!

Sherrie DeMartino Branch Manager of the Carroll Valley Library.

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