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New Study Provides Insights on Millennials' Reading Habits, Library Usage

The Pew Research Center’s “Internet and American Life Project” this week announced findings from a two-year-long  study into the reading habits, interests and expectations of young people in America. The study focused on readers in the important 16-29 bracket, since interest in this demographic is currently very high in both the publishing and library fields.

The researchers employed a two-pronged methodology. They drew quantitative and qualitative data from a nationally-representative phone survey, administered in November and December 2011 (sample size: 2986), and then collected further qualitative insights during a series of online focus groups in 2012.

The study’s findings have important implications for America’s public libraries. Some of the results may surprise you.


Here are several points from the Pew Research Center’s “Internet and American Life Project” that library friends, trustees and staff might find of particular interest. A more comprehensive listing of study findings (complete with graphs) and in-depth analyses are available from the two “Related Links,” listed below.

General Reading:

  • More than 8 in 10 Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and 6 in 10 used a local public library
  • 83% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year. Some 75% read a print book, 19% read an e-book, and 11% listened to an audiobook.

Library Usage

  • 56% of all Americans ages 16 and older have used the library in the past year, including 60% of those under age 30
  • 40% of all Americans have at some point used the library for research, including 46% of those under age 30
  • 22% of Americans have at some point used the library to borrow newspapers, magazines, or journals, including 23% of those under age 30

Future of e-Books in Libraries

  • 58% of those under age 30 who do not currently borrow e-books from libraries—including 60% of high schoolers and college-aged adults—say they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to borrow an e-reading device pre-loaded with a book they wanted to read (compared with 46% of all respondents)
  • 33% of those under age 30 say they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to take a library class on how to download e-books onto handheld devices (compared with 32% of all respondents)

 

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