According to Central Connecticut State University findings, my home city of Pittsburgh ranks sixth in literacy out of seventy-five top U.S. cities—falling behind Washington (#1), Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Boston (#5). That ranking is down from 2010 and 2009, when it placed fifth and fourth, respectively, but up by half from 2008.
I’m so proud of Pittsburgh, especially considering how a lot of chain bookstores are closing down in the area, a trend that might mean another drop in reading. But there are still plenty of good venues for books:
- You can browse Pittsburgh listings of literary events and book tours at Eventful by week, weekend, month, or any date you choose.
- The TribLIVE posts upcoming events under their “Things to Do” page.
- The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh hosts their own events throughout the month.
- Don’t forget independent book sellers like Caliban Books on Craig St., Mystery Lovers Bookshop just outside the city in Oakmont, Awesome Books on Liberty Avenue, and The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore and Cafe near it.
- Reading Is FUNdamental provides disadvantaged children with books.
- Book ‘Em delivers free reading material to prisoners and prison libraries in Pennsylvania and across the country.
- The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation presents donated books to patients and their families.
- The Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council offers programs to improve adult education and family literacy.
How does your nearest city measure up? Have you participated in any literary events in your area?