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. A toxic site in Niagara Falls, New York, seen from above.
    Environment

    The Toxic 'Blank Spots' of Niagara Falls

    The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.

  2. Equity

    The Story Behind the Housing Meme That Swept the Internet

    How a popular meme about neoliberal capitalism and fast-casual architecture owned itself.

  3. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  4. Transportation

    Europe's Intercity Bus Juggernaut Is Rolling Into the U.S.

    Flixbus is like the Uber of long-haul road travel. Could it reboot the American coach business?

  5. Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina
    Photos

    A Highway to Progress, Foiled By Old Values

    A Carolinian drives along a familiar road to make sense of what exists in between the South’s most regressive and progressive narratives.