Pew Study Looks at Younger Readers (16–29) and Libraries
A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project looks at how young Americans interact with libraries and books of all types. Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits pulls out data from an earlier study on libraries to just look at readers aged 16–29.
The results are relatively predictable. Despite dire warnings, this study follows other studies in showing that young Americans are still reading. As might be expected, these 16–29 year-olds also tend to read more digitally than older readers; about half have read some type of long-form content (book, magazine, or newspaper) electronically.
As with the larger study data, this breakout of younger readers clearly shows that libraries are not doing enough to advertise digital content services to patrons. Just over half of the respondents stated that they were unaware that they could borrow an ebook from their library. Even if our digital reading services are not as strong as they could be, if our patrons don’t know we are even in the game, we are missing out on strong opportunities to build ongoing content relationships.
The report also reveals some chilling information for school librarians: “Almost half of 16–17 year-olds say that the library is not important or ‘not too important’ to them and their family,” noted Pew Research’s Kathryn Zickuhr in the research summary. Since high school students are strong users of the library despite this overall feeling, there seems to be a branding disconnect that we need to address.