Education

Millennials Are the Biggest Public Library Visitors

A new study shows millennials visit libraries more than other generations.

Photo Credit: Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock.com

Millennials—those born between 1980 and 2000—are way into libraries. In a new Pew Research Center survey, 53% of millennials said they had visited a public library or bookmobile in the last 12 months. This makes millennials the most likely generation of Americans to use the library.

In general, 46% of Americans 18 and older reported they’d used a public library or bookmobile in the last 12 months, so the youngest adults aren’t remarkably bigger fans of libraries than other generations. Forty-five percent  of Gen Xers (ages 36-51), 43% of Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) and 36% of people in the so-called Silent Generation (ages 71-88) said they had visited a library in the past year. Overall, women were more likely to go to the library than men (54% vs. 39%), and were also more likely to use library websites (37% vs. 24%).

Millennials—18- to 29-year-olds—are also the most likely generation of adults to use a library website. About four in 10 millennials had done so, compared with 24% of Baby Boomers.

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“In all, 31% of adults used a library website in the past 12 months, which is similar to the percentage that reported using library websites in late 2015,” the Pew Research Center reports. 

The Pew report notes that fast internet connections set up in many libraries could be part of the reason millennials are using the library so much. It might also be explained by millennials’ interest 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.”

Or, it could just be that millennials really like to read. According to the latest Pew research on reading books, in 2016, millennials read more books than older generations in the last 12 months. 

Read the full report.

April M. Short is a freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness and social justice. She previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor.