Generation Y and Libraries
More than half of Americans visited a library in the past year with many of them drawn in by the computers rather than the books, according to a survey released on Sunday.
Of the 53 percent of U.S. adults who said they visited a library in 2007, the biggest users were young adults aged 18 to 30 in the tech-loving group known as Generation Y, the survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said.
"These findings turn our thinking about libraries upside down," said Leigh Estabrook, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois and co-author of a report on the survey results.
What confuses me is not the percentage of library users under 30 but the shock expressed by the statisticians. Even Lee Rainie, PEW's statistics guru, expressed amazement.
The survey showed 62 percent of Generation Y respondents said they visited a public library in the past year...
"We were surprised by these findings, particularly in relation to Generation Y," said Lee Rainie, co-author of the study and director of the Pew project.
But we've been seeing this convergence for a long time now. Library use by Gen Y should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following library trends over the past three years, but perhaps this will be a wakeup call for those who haven't been following the discussions regarding technology and our users.