Visual Quill Blog

Books, But Not Libraries?

VQ Staff - Friday, September 12, 2014

A recent study done by Pew Research has found that teens and young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past year than their elders have. At the same time, it was found that millennial don't seem to find the services that libraries offer quite as important, and "younger readers less likely to see public libraries as essential in their communities", according to The Atlantic.

In the study, it was found that "Americans are buying more books than they borrow" and that "fewer Americans are visiting libraries than in recent years, but more Americans are using library websites". With the rise and advancement in technology, it is interesting to think about how libraries will continue to evolve over the coming years. Additionally, it has been thought that the millennial generation reads less than past generations because of the Internet, but that, as it turns out, is not the case. 

Here are a few facts directly from the Pew Research study:

  • "Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older."
  • "Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so."
  • The survey "found that older teens (ages 16-17) are more likely to read (particularly print books), more likely to read for work or school, and more likely to use the library for books and research than older age groups", whereas "college-aged adults (ages 18-24), are less likely to use public libraries than many other age groups, and are significantly less likely to have visited a library recently". Adults in their late twenties (25-29), "re less likely than college-aged adults to have read a book in the past year, but are more likely to keep up with the news."
An article from The Smithsonian Museum states that libraries are pushing their boundaries and lending people things other than books. An example in the article is to allow someone to borrow knitting needles along with a book about knitting. Across the nation, libraries are offering a multitude of objects, as the article says: "It seems like everything is available for checkout at these libraries, from cake pans to GoPros. A library in Ann Arbor lends everything from telescopes to musical instruments and art. A library in Illinois lends out expensive digital equipment, and in Oakland, library patrons can borrow from thousands of tools."

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