With increased access to ebooks and digital entertainment many believe libraries will become or are already obsolete. I disagree. Although both print and ebook sales have increased over the past five years, printed books have experienced a proportionately larger surge in sales than ebooks. During the first half of 2021 sales of books in print increased almost 30 percent while ebook purchases declined. What does this surge in the demand for print books reveal? Possibly, that many of us seek an escape from the technology that infringes upon our daily lives. This abundance of digital media may be the very reason we are now embracing the freedom and autonomy provided by books and reading.
The average adult spends up to 12 hours a day in front of their television and computer screens. While technology does add to our lives and help us connect in this time of social distancing, excessive screen time can negatively affect our physical and mental health. Large amounts of screen time can lead to insomnia and vision weakness and the sedentary lifestyle technology brings can double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, studies show that technology may actually damage the parts of the brain responsible for compassion and empathy, making it more difficult for us to build and maintain meaningful relationships with others.
Taking regular breaks from our screens not only provides an antidote to these significant health issues, but also supports a more happy and fulfilling life. Powering down allows us to experience fuller, rather than fragmented moments throughout our day, increasing our attention span and promoting personal self-awareness and mindfulness. Disconnecting enables us to truly enjoy each moment and the people and places we encounter throughout our day. Spending quality time away from technology also reduces feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety and allows us to be present in and live out our best lives. For people with depression, reading can often lessen feelings of isolation.
A great way to experience the wonderful health benefits we get when we set aside our screens is to read! Like breaking from technology, reading has been shown to raise mental agility and help us relax and sleep better. The National Institute on Aging even recommends reading books and magazines as a way of keeping our minds engaged and improving cognitive function as we grow older.
Want to see what all the hype is about? Visit the Avon Park Public Library and check out some of these new print books:
Nadiya Bakes (641.815 Hus): Are you a fan of The Great British Baking Show? In her newest cookbook, based on her Netflix show and BBC series Nadiya Bakes, Nadiya Hussein, winner of The Great British Baking Show, shares more than 100 simple and achievable recipes for cakes, cookies, breads, tarts, and puddings that will become staples in your home.
Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation (328.73 Lew): With this book, the late Congressman performs that crucial passing of the baton, empowering us to live up to the legacy he has left us with his perseverance, dedication, profound insight, and unwavering ability to see the good in life.
Once There Were Wolves (Fic McC): Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy’s new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves—if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
Down Range (Mys Moo): In this action-packed debut thriller for fans of C. J. Box and Jack Carr, DEA agent Garrett Kohl fights to protect his home on the Texas High Plains when a vicious criminal enterprise comes after his family.
Would you like to support Highlands County Libraries? I have good news for you. The Avon Park Public Library BLOW OUT BOOK SALE has been extended! Each Friday between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM you can purchase any hardcover book for only 50 CENTS! While you’re there, consider becoming a Friends of the Library member for only $10 per year. Your annual membership includes 12 free books!
To learn more about the Heartland Library Cooperative visit us at www.myhlc.org or follow us on Facebook at the Highlands Board of County Commissioners page!