Factors Affecting Reading for Pleasure Practices in Community Libraries in Thailand
Studies have identified that reading for pleasure (RfP) has a positive influence on reading behaviour and is more important for academic success than family socioeconomic status (SES) (OECD, 2010). RfP can play a significant role in promoting literacy development, and reading behaviour in areas of low SES. In Thailand, however, RfP is a contested reading concept because reading is traditionally associated with academic purposes. To investigate the current status of RfP in Thailand and the role played by community libraries (CLs) in its promotion, a study was undertaken in the largest and most economically disadvantaged part of Thailand, the Northeast region, or Isan. This research lies within the social constructivism paradigm and uses an applied multiple case study design. The study has two objectives: 1) to identify the factors affecting RfP reading promotion practice in CLs in Isan, and 2) to determine how these factors affect RfP reading promotion practice in CLs in Isan. Data were collected in eight CLs by 1) semi-structured interviews, 2) observations during library visits and library activity attendance, and 3) documentary analysis conducted on documentary sources. Qualitative data were analysed by open coding using NVivo11. The generation of a preliminary set of codes was deductively derived from literature and the research framework which was based on 1) Krashen’s Free Voluntary Reading (FVR), and 2) Asselin & Doiron’s Ecological Framework for Community Library Developments. Four theoretical categories were derived from the iterative inductive data analysis and the deductive literature review: 1) Thai Reading Context, 2) Thai Cultural and Social Factors, 3) Isan Socioeconomic Influences, and 4) CL Factors. They were used to write case reports on four types of CL: 1) CLs established by an expert organization, 2) CLs under the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education (ONIE), 3) CLs established by health promotors, and 4) CLs established by individuals. This was followed by cross-case analysis derived from combining, comparing or contrasting the findings from each case, providing a higher level of interpretation showing in four themes: Theme A. Provision of Book Access in Disadvantaged Areas; Theme B. Literacy Development Support; Theme C. Provision of an Inclusive, Safe Atmosphere; and Theme D. Active Roles of Key Individuals in RfP.