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The surprising ways Gen Z and Millennials are using Public Libraries

The surprising ways Gen Z and Millennials are using Public Libraries
Posted at 12:24 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 15:31:25-05

Libraries are adapting to the communities they serve, and Gen Z and Millennials are proving that.

From renting snowshoes to learning to code, local libraries are for more than just your average bookworm.

Two Portland State University Associate Professors worked with the American Library Association to study library usage among different age groups.

They found 54% of Gen Z and Millennials visited a physical library in the past year, and 23% of those that visited a library didn't identify themselves as readers.

Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, one of the professors who conducted the study said, "Teens were floating between looking at their phones and socializing, maybe browsing a book, coming back, gaming. It was a very free-form space."

But they aren't just going to hang out with their friends.

Dr. Rachel Noorda, a co-author of the study, says teenagers are using other resources the library has to offer. "Whether that's other media or spaces to make their own things, like create their own music," she says.

Emily Drabinski, the President of the American Library Association, said "We consume media in a variety of formats. And the library is a place that that can offer all of those formats."

Despite growing up in the digital age, the survey found younger people actually prefer print books.

On average, Gen Z and Millennials buy and read one E-book, one audiobook, and two print books per month.

If you're interested in learning more about public library use, you can find their published study results here.