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Millennials Bigger Library Fans Than Their Elders

Thursday, September 25, 2014

 

Photo Credit: ginnerobot via Compfight cc

Millennials are more likely than their elders to say that the library contains important information that the Internet doesn’t, according to a Pew research study.

The study pulls together several years of research on the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities, specifically focusing on the generation of Americans born between the 1980s and the beginning of the 21st Century, known as millennials. 

See Slides Below: Top 15 Most Literate U.S. Cities 

Although 98 percent of people under 30 use the Internet, 62 percent of those users believe that "a lot of useful, important information is not available on the Internet," according to Pew. Only 53 percent of older Americans believe the same thing. 

Pew research also found that millennials are just as likely as their elders to have used a library in the past 12 months, and more likely to have used a library website. 

Approximately 36 percent of millennials used a library website in the past year, compared with 20 percent of those 30 and older. 

Martha Flotten, Gresham library manager, said she's noticed more young people coming into the library in the past few years. 

"We see a variety of demographics, but in the past three or four years we have seen much more of [the millennial] age group come in," Flotten said. "We have a handful of high school kids come in reading classics. It's a little surprising.

"Sometimes it's a curriculum thing, but a lot of them genuinely want to read these books. I love engaging them and giving them the books." 

She also said that the library draws a lot of people who need to use wifi and printers.

David Miles is the manager of the Kenton Branch of Multnomah County Library in Portland. He also said that he sees a lot of younger library patrons come in to use the printers, technology and wifi.

"We don't see a lot of teens, but we do see a lot patrons 20-35. I don't know if it's more than older adults but its a significant amount," Miles said. "We also have a lot of young parents in our area, and that's sort of a different group of people because they're bringing their kids to storytime and to get books."

Miles also said that while media checkouts for CDs and DVDs are declining, the library offers a service that allows people to watch videos online.

"I know that our online visits have exceeded our in-library visits," Miles said. "We want to encourage younger generations to keep using the libraries. They're often not aware of all the services we have."  

A 2013 study by Central Connecticut State University ranked Portland as the 11th most literate city in America. One of the key factors contributing to the ranking was the prevalence of and access to libraries in the city. 

A 2012 creation of an independent library service district in Portland gives the library system independence from the county government and the ability to tax.

Banner Photo Credit: Maarten Takens via Compfight cc (image cropped)

 

Related Slideshow: Slideshow: Top 15 Most Literate U.S. Cities

A 2013 study by Central Connecticut State University(CCU) ranked Portland as the 11th most literate City in America. The ranking's key metrics range from education, to number of booksellers, libraries and publications. See how these other cities stacked up. 

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#15

Baltimore, MD

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#14

Cleveland, OH

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#13

Kansas City, MO

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#12

Cincinnati, OH 

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#11

Portland, OR

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#10

San Francisco, CA

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#9

St. Louis, MO

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#8

Boston, MA

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#7

St. Paul, MN

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#6

Denver, CO

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#4.5

Pittsburgh, PA

(tied with Atlanta)

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#4.5

Atlanta, GA 

(tied with Pittsburgh)

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#3

Minneapolis, MN 

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#2

Seattle, WA 

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#1

Washington DC 

 
 

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