In some exciting ways the report upends cliches about millenials, and not to the credit of their putatively wiser elders:
- Digital natives are more likely to have read a print book than their elders (“three-quarters (75%) of younger Americans say they have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64% of adults ages 30 and older”). That will shock some (older) folks.
- Those 16-29-year-olds make more use of library space than do the 30-on-ups: “60% of younger patrons say they go to the library to study, sit and read, or watch or listen to media, significantly more than the 45% of older patrons who do this.” And “[s]ome 38% of Americans ages 16-29 have used computers and the internet at libraries in the past year, compared with 22% of those ages 30 and older.”
In at least two areas there are no generational differences:
- “Younger Americans under age 30 are just as likely as older adults to visit the library, and younger patrons borrow print books, browse the shelves, or use research databases at similar rates to older patrons”
- “80% of Americans under age 30 say that librarians are a “very important” resource for libraries to have (along with 81% of adults ages 30 and older)”
Here’s a fascinating snapshot of what this younger cohort wants from libraries in the future:
In other useful findings:
- People of all ages generally aren’t using mobile devices to hit libraries’ digital resources: “Almost one in five (18%) Americans ages 16-29 have used a mobile device to visit a public library’s website or access library resources in the past 12 months, compared with 12% of those ages 30 and older. “
- Interesting point about spatial perceptions: “most younger Americans say that libraries should have completely separate locations or spaces for different services, such as children’s services, computer labs, reading spaces, and meeting rooms: 57% agree that libraries should “definitely” do this.”
This is rich, vital stuff for library planners and other educators.