How the future of the country sees the future of of public libraries.

If there's one thing older generations like to complain about today's young people, it's their devotion to electronic devices. What kind of world will we end up with if kids these days are all reading books on their smart phones? Which leads to the question of the future of libraries, the public's brick-and-mortar meccas for the printed word, which despite increased usage post-recession are still struggling to keep their doors open.

A Pew Research Center report released today offers some insight into the minds of the very same younger Americans who will grow up to define what our libraries will become. Among young people (which Pew here defines as 16-29 years old), 75 percent had read at least one print book in the last year, versus just 25 percent who had read at least one e-book. And when it comes to libraries themselves, turns out Millennials are much more bullish on them than you might expect:

The blue bars in the chart above represent the percentage of surveyed young people who say libraries "should definitely" implement a particular policy. Over half favor increasing e-book choices, but are split on moving books out of public reach (23 percent say definitely yes, 29 percent say definitely no). Notice that the four highest-ranked ideas have nothing to do with checking out books or electronic tools: they're about community programs and library spaces.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Two women at a bar with a bottle between them.
    Life

    The Particular Creativity of Dense Urban Neighborhoods

    A new study finds evidence that Jane Jacobs was right about the dynamic and innovative qualities spurred by living in dense, urban neighborhoods.

  2. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

  3. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  4. photo: Bernie Sanders
    Life

    Bernie Sanders Wins Endorsement From the Internet’s Premier Urbanist Meme-Makers

    In backing the Vermont senator, the popular Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens” is leveraging some offline political clout.

  5. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

×