St. Louis Public Library Moves Up in Ranking, Even as City's Overall Literacy Score Drops

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The annual ranking of "America's Most Literate Cities" came out last month.

The good news: For the sixth straight year the St. Louis Public Library was ranked as one of the top five library systems in the nation for cities with populations of over 250,000.

According to Central Connecticut State University, which compiles the annual ranking, the St. Louis Library is the second best in the country -- trailing only Cleveland's library. Last year the St. Louis Library ranked No. 4.

The bad: Despite the rise in the library category, St. Louis' overall literacy ranking dropped this year from 9th place in 2008 to 11th in '09. (In 2007, St. Louis ranked as high as No. 6 most literate city according to the poll.)

So, what happened in '09?

Unlike other years, St. Louis got relatively poor marks for its number of bookstores and publications in 2009.

But it was our Internet use and education where St. Louis really plummeted. In 2009 the Gateway City ranked No. 38 for "Internet literacy" -- which Central Connecticut State computes based on the bizarre formulat of online book purchases per capita and the amount of time residents spend on the city's daily newspaper website. (If you're reading Daily RFT, you're obviously "illiterate", according to the study. Yes, I'm talking about you people who write in to tell me of all my typos!)

As for education -- which ranks the number of people with high-school and college degrees -- St. Louis ranked an abysmal No. 49 in 2009.

Of course another way to measure education literacy would be to look at how our children in the St. Louis Public School District compare to other Missouri students in MAP scores for communications arts. Here's a chart for that. It ain't pretty.

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