Belying the stereotype that younger Americans completely eschew print for digital, those ages 16-29 have wide-ranging media and technology behaviors that straddle the traditional paper-based world of books and digital access to information.
One major surprise in a new report from the Pew Research Center is that even in an age of increasing digital resources, those in this under-30 cohort are more likely than older Americans to use and appreciate libraries as physical spaces – places to study for class, go online, or just hang out.
The report paints a textured portrait of younger Americans’ sometimes surprising relationships with libraries’ physical and digital resources:
* Online: Almost all those in the 16-29 age group are online, and they more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computer and internet connections, access library websites, and use a library’s research databases.
* On paper: However, younger Americans are also more likely than older adults to have read a printed book in the past year: 75% of younger Americans have done so, compared with 64% of older adults.
* On-site: Younger adults are also more likely than their elders to use libraries as quiet study spaces. Moreover, they are just as likely as older adults to have visited libraries, borrowed printed books, and browsed the stacks of books.
This mix of interests is further reflected in younger users’ desires for new library services. Americans ages 16-29 are particularly interested in adding technology-driven features such as apps for accessing library materials and for navigating library spaces, and “Redbox”-style kiosks around town for convenient access to library materials around town.
Via Gordon Dahlby