Millennials Love Public Libraries
I am usually loathe to pick up the generic internet trope of anything labeled "Millennial." It has become a word that is employed as an easy punching-bag by people in search of headline clicks, and members of a generation that is aging out of positions of power and influence.
Too often when writer's complain about Millennials they are really talking about children; while the Millennial generation is really people born in the 80's and 90's who are in their 20's and early 30's. These people are finishing collage, having children, starting businesses, working their way up the ranks, and making big investments and purchases.
But, I recently saw an interesting report from the Pew Research Center that said the people in the Millennial generation visit our nation's public libraries more that other generations. Millennial aged people were also more likely to use library websites.
"A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)"
Almost half of US adults have used a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months according to the report. That number has remained consistent over the last few years.
As for why this generation is more likely to use public libraries, the reports says that part of the trend could be in response to the changes many public libraries have undergone in the last couple decades.
"Previous Pew Research Center surveys have documented how extensively people use computers and internet connections at libraries, as well as how interested they are in extra services such as literacy programs for young children, meeting spaces for community groups, and technology 'petting zoos' that provide opportunities to explore 3-D printers and other tech gadgetry."
'Petting zoos?' Cute. Always have to bring it back to kids playing with toys. Maybe another aspect is that a generation burdened by education debt and entering a workforce besieged by wage-stagnation appreciate the no cost access to resources and entertainment that a public library offers. The library can be a community center that is free of the pressure of purchasing something.
Public libraries are also an opportunity to see direct, positive use of tax money. Access to information that is available to everyone and a product of the community could be another reason that the Millennial generation like the library.
Source: Pew Research