Abstract

This article examines competing models of reading that have been available for librarians to use in their discourse and policy making about pleasure reading. Two models, "Reading with a Purpose" and "Only the Best," developed within public librarianship, while the others developed variously in education, psychology, mass media studies, and sociology. These models have differing stories to tell about the power of the text, the role of the reader, and the effect on the reader of what is read. Who is in charge in these stories of reading? Is reading a receptive process of extracting meanings right there in the text or is it a productive process that involves the reader as a co-creator of meaning? What happens during the reading transaction itself? Is the reader empowered? Or is the reader duped, dumbed down, tranquilized, or deceived? Each model of reading makes its own power claims and each has its own entailments. Some models are more appropriate than others for public libraries now that they are seeking to play a more significant role in the leisure structure. The article uses two types of readers as test cases whose reading tastes have historically been denigrated: the series book reader and the romance reader.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 632-656
Launched on MUSE
2009-06-26
Open Access
No
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