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Facebook Generation Reading MORE and Frequenting Libraries!

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By Roswell Encina

Teen in Maryland DeptPop the champagne! The results of a new study by the Pew Research Center has us celebrating: More than eight in ten young Americans (ages 16-29) read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. Many say they are reading more in the era of digital content, especially on their mobile phones and on computers.

In this age of Facebook, Twitter and reality shows this may come as a surprise to many. But contrary to the belief that millennials don’t read anything more than 140 characters, this study is very encouraging. The Pratt Library has numerous programs and initiatives to encourage more younger Americans to use the library. Free programs include Wii games at multiple branches, eBooks and eReaders available for checkout and innovative programs by the Pratt Contemporaries.

iPhoneThe report highlights that Americans under the age of 30 are more likely to read their eBooks on a cell phone, computer and eReader. That's why the library has a mobile site for easy access to our catalog and eBooks. And next week, the library will have a major announcement that will hopefully have more people checking out eBooks for free. "More for Free" is coming October 30.

Here are the findings by the Pew Research Center: 

  • 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.
  • Among Americans who read e-books, those under age 30 are more likely to read their e-books on a cell phone (41%) or computer (55%) than on an e-book reader such as a Kindle (23%) or tablet (16%).
  • Overall, 47% of younger Americans read long-form e-content such as books, magazines or newspapers. E-content readers under age 30 are more likely than older e-content readers to say that they are reading more these days due to the availability of e-content (40% vs. 28%).
  • 60% of Americans under age 30 used the library in the past year. Some 46% used the library for research, 38% borrowed books (print books, audiobooks, or e-books), and 23% borrowed newspapers, magazines, or journals.
  • Many young e-book readers do not know they can borrow an e-book from a library. Among those ages 16-29 who have not borrowed an e-book from the library, 52% said they were unaware they could do so.

"High schoolers stand out in several ways. We found that libraries are a large part of how readers ages 16-17 get their books, more so than older adults. These high schoolers are more likely than other age groups to use the library, including for research and book-borrowing," said Kathryn Zickuhr of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, a co-author of the report.

From the Report:

Book readers by age
% of all Americans who have read a book in whole or in part, in any format, in the past 12 months

Pew Research Graph 1

Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Reading Habits Survey, November 16-December 21, 2011. N=2,986 respondents ages 16 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cells.


E-books beyond e-readers

Among people who read e-books, the percentage in each age group who read their e-books on the following devices. For instance, 41% of e-book readers ages 16-29 read e-books on a cell phone.

Pew Research Graph 2

Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Reading Habits Survey, November 16-December 21, 2011. N=2,986 respondents ages 16 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cells. N for people who read an e-book in the past 12 months=793.


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