Young people, libraries and reading

Young peoples' attitudes to books, reading and libraries are assessed in research from Pew Internet.In the US high-schoolers (those aged 16-17) are the group most likely to be using local libraries and borrowing books, whereas older adults are much more likely to have bought the last book they read, rather than borrowed it.  However, although they are the most intensive users of libraries, young people are the least likely to actually appreciate the services they receive from their libraries.The research looked at just under 3000 people aged 16-29 and discovered the following:

  • 83% had read a book in the past year
    • 75% read a print book
    • 19% read an e-book
    • 11% listened to an audiobook
  • 60% had used the library in the past year
    • 46% used the library for research
    • 38% borrowed books (print books, audiobooks, or e-books)
    • 23% borrowed newspapers, magazines, or journals
Young people and e-book borrowingThe majority of e-book consumers under the age of 30 are not using dedicated devices but are reading via their desktop/laptop computers or phones.  Many respondents said they had been unaware that their local library lent e-books until they had sought out information after buying e-reading devices.  For some respondents, e-borrowing was easy, but others expressed frustration with multiple log-in screens.  Young people also expressed interest in borrowing ‘pre-loaded' e-readers and attending classes on how to use e-reading devices.Attitudes to librariesWorryingly, 45% of high schoolers (and 37% of ‘older' young people) stated that the library is not important or not too important to them and their families.  Combine this finding with the feedback from many respondents that they had been unaware of e-book lending services, the implication is that libraries would do well to design marketing and awareness campaigns that specifically target young users.Download the research here.