5 mar 2011

Why Poles don't read? Plus Polish Internet Libraries

Recently Biblioteka Narodowa published a report on reading in Poland. Poles are literate but don’t want to read not only the books but also longer texts. In 2010 56% of questioned Poles 15+ didn’t open ANY kind of book (including encyclopedias, cooking books etc.). It was compared to France – 31% and Czech Republic – 17%. In 2008 it was even 62% in Poland – shame (wstyd)!

It’s not easy to explain why it does look like this. Some people will never read no matter what. A family and social environment play a very important role but even educated children of educated parents can avoid reading. In my opinion Polish schools don’t teach reading – now a preparation for the exams the most important on every level. Pupils learn guessing what tests’ authors had on mind. School should create the culture of reading and the ability for the critical thinking.

Poverty is the second factor. It seems that reading doesn’t require spending money on books because there are libraries. In cities you have many, always with computers and free Internet. But in the countryside in the 90’s many libraries were closed. Still in 50% of Polish homes there’s no Internet access. Reading is getting easier and cheaper with e-books. When hopefully the Polish state will guarantee the access for every citizen Poles won’t only watch films or comment others’ activities on the web.

The report showed that poorly educated, 60+, unemployed and pensioners are those who don’t read. In the comment by Biblioteka Narodowa you can also read that Poles work a lot and don’t have time for more sophisticated entertainments. But 25% of those highly educated haven’t read any book in the last year. It’s really worrying that they don’t feel the need to not only relax with the literature but also improve their job qualifications this way.

I’m a reading maniac, my studies were dedicated to reading and I can never stop. I really enjoyed collecting books but last year I decided to give away most of them to libraries. I keep only the most favourite or useful. Why am I writing this? Maybe I could inspire you to share things you don’t need with others? In Warsaw there are places where you can leave used clothing, bedclothes, books, toys etc. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail. Every library takes books also in English (and I read them:).

By the way* I would like to introduce you Polska Biblioteka Internetowa. You will find there many Polish texts or texts in Polish (only these without copyright). There’s also the Polona library with English descriptions. If you would like to read old Polish magazines and newspapers I recommend you to see the website of Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie.

* in Poland we say it in the French way: a propos [a propo], originally à propos


analfabeta/analfabetka – illiterate
wtórny analfabeta - secondary illiterate
analfabetyzm – illiteracy
biblioteka – library
bibliotekarz/bibiotekarka – librarian
narodowy/a/e - national
pożyczać komuś (+ Dat.) – to lend
pożyczać od kogoś (+ Gen) – to borrow
wypożyczać – to lend out - biblioteka/wypożyczalnia wypożycza książki na miesiąc.
wypożyczalnia - lending library

12 komentarzy:

  1. I love reading about Poland in English. I know that Poles are literate people and I love culture & history of Poland. I am Ukrainian and half-Russian, but I speak Polish almost fluently, because I greatly appreciate Polish traditions, way of life, culture.

  2. I am going to follow your Blog.
    Best wishes from Norway,

  3. I found this really interesting.

    I found your lovely blog via Expat Blogs. Perhaps you would like to join my Expat Linky Party on March 19th? Hope to see you then, if not sooner.

  4. Thank you for nice words! What are the rules of this party?

  5. I think it's fault of parents- no matter how much reading shools will require, for students that aren't accustomed to reading in home, it will be just something they do because they have to - not a good way to encourage kids to read.

    And parents often don't have time to read with kids - it's easier to turn the TV or PC on and left kids with it, than to read a book with them.

    PS - one thing school libraries could do to encourage kids to reading IMHO could be allowing kids to search for books on their own - for me it was always great exprience, when in my village library I could go wander between shelves, and look for something new - now in most libraries this is forbidden - you have to know which book you want, ask the librarian and patiently wait for this book. And don't even think of going near the shelves. The exploration aspect of going to library is lost, and it is important for kids.

  6. Odrzut, it's true!

    In my primary school I was given an award for reading so many books:) And shelves were accesible...

  7. Droga Pani, zamiast pisac pozytywnie o ojczyznie, to pisze Pani o tym ze Polacy nie czytaja, ze bieda itd. Polacy tylko narzekaja na swoj kraj, a potem dziwic sie ze caly swiat sie z nas smieje. Pojezdzij po swiecie, to zobaczysz ze Amerykanie, Anglicy etc. to sa narody, ktore zadowola sie tylko prosta rozrywka. Ksiazke to tam widzi tylko mala czesc populacji - elita. Pozdrawiam i namawiam do poprawy :)

  8. Jak chce Pani poruszac takie wewnetrzne sprawy kraju, to mozna to robic na blogu po polsku, w rodzinie, nieprawdaz? Na zewnatrz trzeba godnie reprezentowac ojczyzne - robic tak, jak robia to inne kraje na swiecie - "propaganda sukcesu" ; ) POWAZNIE: P.S. Wrzucilem Poland i Poles w google i Pani blog wyskoczyl - prosze miec na uwadze ze czyta Pania swiat - po angielsku i ze w ten sposob nas Pani reprezentuje i nasz kraj. Dziekuje za uwage.

  9. Na swoim blogu jakoś szczególnie nie narzekam, bardziej chwalę i promuję Polskę. Uprawianie wyłącznie propagandy sukcesu mnie mierzi, dlatego nie unikam cieni. Chciałabym, żeby obcokrajowcy znali polskie problemy. Oczywiście - to, że Polacy nie czytają, nie jest czymś wyjątkowym na świecie, po którym jeżdżę.

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