Shelf AwarenessEven though Americans aged 16-29 are heavy technology users, they are still more likely than their older counterparts to use and appreciate libraries as physical spaces, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, which found that a majority of those polled in the under-30 category said it is "very important" for libraries to have librarians and books for borrowing, and relatively few thought libraries should automate most services or move them online.
"Younger Americans' reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page," said Kathryn Zickuhr, research analyst at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and a co-author of the report. "Some of this stems from the demands of school or work, yet some likely lies in their current personal preferences. And this group's priorities and expectations for libraries likewise reflect a mix of traditional and technological services."
Other notable results from the survey:
- 75% of younger Americans have read a printed book during the past year, compared to 64% of older adults.
- 85% of 16- and 17-year-olds read at least one print book in the past year, making them significantly more likely to have read a book in this format than any other age group.
- 60% of younger patrons say they go to the library to sit and read, study or watch or listen to media, compared to 45% of library visitors 30 and older.