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Sep 28, 2013 —
By: Kara Schroader
A recent report from the Pew Research Center reveals interesting insights into the usage of libraries by younger Americans ages 16 to 29. This segment of the population represents a vital and vibrant constituency of the public library. Unexpectedly, the Pew Center discovered that young Americans are more likely than older Americans to use the actual library building as a physical space worthy of visiting. This under-30 population utilizes not only the library’s computers to go online, but also the designated lounging areas for studying and socializing with friends.
While many might believe the younger generations are moving away from print books, Pew research indicates that’s likely not the case. Although nearly all patrons in the 16 to 29 age group use the Internet and have access to electronic alternatives, the majority still borrow printed books from the library. In fact, younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to circulate physical books from the stacks.
Many of these young adults are interested in upcoming library innovations, including apps for easier access to library services. However, this desire to incorporate the expansion of technology into the library doesn’t necessarily prevent young adults’ support of traditional library services. Very few support increased technology at the expense of removing physical books.
Young adults are a significant proportion of library users. Although this group is living in a digital age, they seem reluctant to completely give up the printed word.