For the second straight year, a new study shows Bakersfield is the nation's most illiterate city.
At Dagny's Coffee Company downtown, those who aren't enjoying a cup of joe are reading. But, bookworms in Bakersfield are few and far between, according to an annual study out of Central Connecticut State University.
The study ranked 76 cities with at least 250,000 people. "I don't think a city this size should be at the bottom of the list. I think that's our fault," said Christopher Borges.
Researchers looked at the size of library systems, the presence of bookstores, and educational attainment. They also looked at digital readership and circulation of newspapers.
"I think it's a screwed and unfair way to assess a community," said Chris Truitt.
Growing up, Truitt spent his summers at the library. "We didn't watch TV. We didn't have social networking," continued Truitt.
Tony Russo is the owner of Russo's Books, one of the last independent bookstores in Bakersfield.
"We don't like being at the bottom, but it gives us room to improve," said Russo.
Russo sits on the board of the Kern Adult Literacy Council, which provides one-on-one tutors for those who want to learn to read at no charge.
"If you can read, it really opens the door to everything," continued Russo.
Bakersfield seems to take a hit in every study. Our city has also been ranked the worst place to live for men, the fattest city, the dirtiest city and the least educated city.
"I think we get picked on a lot. I don't know if that makes any sense. But, I do think that we do," said Libby Letlow.
"Constantly, you're defending your town. I'm okay with that. Maybe they won't move here," said Truitt.
As for the most literate city, it's Washington, D.C. for the third year in a row.