Sunday, 24 April 2022

Book Reading Continues to Decrease, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 24 April 2022 - The annual book reading survey conducted on the occasion of Book Night shows that the number of book lovers in Croatia has been gradually decreasing in recent years.

The survey covered 1,000 respondents and was conducted on 1-18 March.

It shows that over the past year only 42% of respondents aged 16 and over read at least one book, down from 45% in 2021 and from 49% in 2020.

Among those who read, most read two books a year, 70% have a university degree, 61% have a monthly household income of over HRK 13,000, 52% live in Zagreb, and 48% are women.

Tamara Kraus, who conducted the survey, says possible reasons for the decline in reading are the effects of the pandemic, including increased stress and anxiety as well as less time to read due to online education and work from home.

Book Night initiator Mišo Nejašmić says the decline is due to the non-implementation of the national strategy to encourage reading.

"The book policy should be financially concrete and this system took a serious hit in 2008 due to austerity as well as in 2013, when books became subject to VAT", he says, adding that another problem is a freeze on government outlays for books.

The state secretary at the Culture Ministry, Krešimir Partl, says the ministry has been investing in the culture infrastructure in recent years to ensure a balanced development of creative industries.

He mentions the opening of new libraries in many towns and the launch of the Mediterranean Book Festival, and announces the launch of a book festival in Osijek.

Also, he adds, HRK 250 million has been set aside in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for the creative cultural sectors.

The latest survey shows that 43% of readers borrow books in libraries, 36% buy them, 29% borrow them from friends, 21% have received a book as a gift, and 9% have photocopied or downloaded one.

Also, 65% of respondents read fiction, 30% read nonfiction, 27% read technical books, 22% read manuals, 13% read children's books, 9% read art books, and 7% read cartoons.

Only 20% of respondents bought at least one book in the past three months, down from 25% in 2017 and 2018, and from 32% in 2005.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Program Encouraging Reading to Children Presented

ZAGREB, 16 Dec 2021 - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Wednesday presented a national program aimed at encouraging parents to read to their children from an early age on.

The program, called "Born to read", is implemented by the Culture and Media Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and with the support of the Croatian Pediatric Society and the Croatian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics.

Speaking at a training course for pediatricians in Slavonski Brod, Obuljen Koržinek said she expected the program to encourage parents to read to their children.

The program is part of the national strategy for the promotion of reading, adopted in 2017, and it was presented at the end of the Year of Reading.

The minister said that the implementation of the program would start in 2022 and that it involved pediatricians who would work on raising parents' awareness of the need to start reading to their children as early as six months of age as a way of strengthening the child's competencies.

Research shows that reading to children helps develop their intelligence, cognitive abilities, and generally their literacy. In Croatia, only one-third of parents are aware of the importance of reading to children and the percentage of parents who actually read to their children is even lower, the minister said, expressing hope the project would help raise awareness among parents about the benefits of reading to children.

The minister noted that a program of this kind had been underway in Italy for some 20 years and that it had yielded the desired positive changes.

Throughout next year education courses will be held for pediatricians about the importance of encouraging reading to children.

The idea to launch the program came from Dr. Marija Radonić.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.