The kids are all right when it comes to reading and libraries
By Morgan on October 23rd, 2012
If you’ve seen lots of jokes online today about how the Internet generation still knows what a book is, that’s because today, the Pew Internet and the American Life Project released the findings of a new study on Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits. I recommend clicking through the link for the full results, but if you’re just looking for the headlines, here are some that we find most relevant:
- More than 8 in 10 Americans between the ages of 16-29 read a book in the past year (go, millennials!), and 6 in 10 used their local public library
- High schoolers (16-17 years) and college students (18-24 years) are especially likely to have read a book or used a library in the past year
- In addition to checking out print books and receiving research assistance in libraries, high schoolers are using libraries to get reading recommendations, and they are more likely (than adults surveyed) to say that they’d be interested in checking out pre-loaded e-readers if that service was offered at their local library
- Among ebook readers, those under 30 are more likely to read their ebooks on their cell phone or computer rather than on an ereader or a tablet
(By the way, you might notice a slight focus on survey respondents ages 16-29 in this study, and that’s because, as Pew notes, there’s great interest in readers of that age these days, as we — publishers — and the librarians of the world consider how readers are changing their habits in this age of ebooks.)
My biggest takeaways from these results?
- That libraries are increasingly important for younger readers — now more than ever.
- That younger adults and teenagers are recognizing the importance of reading every day
- And that, as the Christian Science Monitor says, “Think the only reading your Facebook-updating, Twitter-posting, Google-addicted Millennial is doing is skimming 140-character-or-less Tweets? Think again.”
There are lots of smart reports today that further parse out Pew’s findings, including:
- Library Journal says Younger Americans are Reading More
- Publishers Weekly says Majority of Young Readers Still Use Libraries
- The New York Times blog says Young People Frequent Libraries
- Chicago Tribune says E-book Use Highest Among 30-Somethings
- Washington Post says Digital Divide: Young and Old Differ on E-Book Preferences
- Christian Science Monitor says Millennials: A Rising Generation of Book Lovers
(I particularly like how each outlet chose a different angle to take, whether it’s ereading, the role of libraries, or reading comparisons by generation!)
What surprised you about the findings, if anything? Do you see these kinds of stats reflected in your own life?
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