All bibliophiles know that nothing beats a well-stocked home library. And, according to recent research, being surrounded by books isn’t just personally pleasing—it’s good for you, too!
In “Scholarly culture: How books in adolescence enhance adult literacy, numeracy and technology skills in 31 societies,” Australian National University’s Dr. Joanna Sikora discusses the importance of access to reading materials at home. In this article, she notes that growing up surrounded by books can have a positive influence early in life, as “immersing children in book-oriented environments benefits their later educational achievement, attainment, and occupational standing.”
Sikora, whose expertise lies in sociology and education, reached these conclusions after conducting a literacy study based on a survey. In this survey, she asked 160,000 adults (between 25 and 65 years old) from 31 countries about their upbringing. Specifically, she asked them to recall the number of books they had in their household when they were 16 years old.
Assuming one meter of shelving equals around 40 books, the average response was 115. Using this information, Sikora was able to deduce that teenagers with less than 80 books in their homes went on to have below average literacy and numeracy levels as adults. The most surprising part? According to the data, teenagers without a college degree but a large home library typically “become as literate, numerate, and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books.”
Finally, an excuse to stock your shelves with boundless collections of books!