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. Life

    The ‘Marie Kondo Effect’ Comes at a Weird Time for Thrift Stores

    Netflix’s hit show has everyone tidying up, but that's not the only reason second-hand stores are being flooded with donations.

  2. A photo of a DART light rail train in Dallas, Texas.
    Transportation

    What Cities Are Getting Wrong About Public Transportation

    Cities could get more people walking, biking, and riding transit, according to a new report, if they just know where to look for improvement.

  3. A rendering of the Detroit Food Co-op
    Equity

    A Black-Owned Food Co-op Grows in Detroit

    Detroit Black Community Food Security Network’s co-op will control food production and dissemination to bring good food and wages to an underserved community.

  4. A construction worker inside the 86th Street cavern of the Second Avenue Subway tunnel in 2014
    Transportation

    Why It's So Expensive to Build Urban Rail in the U.S.

    It’s not just the Second Avenue Subway: Nearly all urban rail projects in the U.S. cost much more than their European counterparts.

  5. Transportation

    Paris Will Make Public Transportation Free for Kids

    In a plan to help families and reduce car usage, anyone under 11 years old will be able to ride metro and buses for free, as will people with disabilities under 20.