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We're Number ... Three?

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Books, Book news, Culture wars, Seen elsewhere: Neat stuff Updated: January 12, 2011 - 1:45 PM

 

 

After duking it out for several years with Seattle for the title of America's Most Literate City, Minneapolis seems to have settled comfortably into third place.

St. Paul rose from ninth place in 2005 to third place in 2007 but for the last two years has sat contentedly at No. 7.

No. 1? Washington, DC.

So what do we need to work on? What are we being judged on, without our knowledge? Where do these rankings come from? Central Connecticut State University releases the rankings every year; you can find them here.

Rankings are based on six categories: the number of booksellers per capita (Minneapolis is third; St. Paul is sixth); the number of educated people (they go by high school diplomas, and bachelor's degrees, and Minneapolis is 12th, St. Paul is 22nd, and why in the world is Plano, Texas, No. 2?); newspaper circulation (this can always be improved, people! do your part! Minneapolis is third and St. Paul is seventh); Internet use, including Internet book sales (Minneapolis and St. Paul were tied at 19 for that, perhaps because we like to patronize brick-and-mortar bookstores); libraries and library circulation (Minneapolis is 12th, St. Paul is 19th); and subscriptions to periodicals (Minneapolis is fifth and St. Paul is 24th).

Not taken into consideration: The number of excellent publishers. The number of excellent published writers. The number of dynamic book clubs. The number of literary organizations. But until Central Connecticut State U expands their categories, I think the only thing we can do is keep those bookstores open; keep those newspaper and periodical subscriptions flowing; go to the library; and (note to self) finish that degree.

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