Social Reading and Libraries

Because we have evolved into a culture that shares everything from our current thoughts and feelings, to our specific location, reading and writing have become collaborative, communal activities, increasing people’s engagement with information and conveying it across several different mediums both on and offline. Social reading is a natural extension of the type of reading we have been doing since the early days of campfire stories, however, these previously “casual conversations” about books are now being moved to the online space where it has the infinite possibility to blossom into something richer (Esposito, 2010).

This essay seeks to define, describe, demonstrate, discuss and determine the future of social reading.  The essay will begin by offering explanations and examples of social reading, it will move on to discuss the various forms of social reading (traditional book clubs, online book clubs, social media platforms for books, and eBook reading) before concluding with personal observations made during my journey exploring social reading in its various forms.  The last section of the essay will discuss of the role libraries should play as facilitators of this phenomenon before offering predications, suggestions and final thoughts on the current and future trends of social reading.  What will hopefully manifest in this easy is the observation that social reading is not a new concept, but one that has been redesigned by the advantages and availability of Web 2.0 tools and concepts.

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