LARGE print books a hit for seniors

LARGE PRINT books at Pioneer Memorial Library are identified with a distinctive red and white “LP” on the spine. Westerns and mysteries are particularly popular among the library’s patrons.

Story and photos by Walt Biddle —

     When we are young and first learning to recognize letters and read words, parents, friends and teachers encourage us by giving us books with big letters and small words. It’s the old “See Spot Run!” rule.

      One of life’s unfair happenings is that, later, when we are older and have the time to choose the things we really want to read, our vision can decline and reading becomes a real challenge.

     Thankfully, the days of magnifying glasses and ear-horns are gone. New technologies have emerged to keep us connected with the written word, but the growing use of eBooks and on-line applications have not yet replaced traditional ink and paper formats.

     Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Memorial Library (PML) hosts more than 600 volumes of large print books along with books on tape, compact disks, digital video recordings and on-line access to digital audio recordings. At this time, PML does not offer eBooks to Gillespie County’s 24,000 residents.

     “Large print westerns and mysteries are very popular,” said Pioneer Memorial’s librarian Brian MacWithey.  MacWithey said libraries frequently have to wait for publishers to offer libraries the latest books by best-known authors. PML has a budget of less than $20,000 each year for all acquisitions.

     A wide variety of factors are considered in making the decisions of what to buy and how to provide it to the community, including popularity of individual authors and titles and recommendations from the more than 7,000 registered users in PML’s system.

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