Millennials may be killing marriage and manners, but they’re saving public libraries
By Kate Irby
Jun 23 2017
Millennials get a fair amount of flack in the media for “killing” various industries. The death toll allegedly includes diamonds, fabric softener, gambling, light yogurt, marriage and department stores.
It’s less common to hear about an industry millennials are saving, but new research shows public libraries may fall under that category.
A survey by Pew Research Center found millennials were the generation most likely to have visited a public library in the past year, even when the question discounted university or school libraries. Of people between ages 18 and 35, 53 percent said they had used a public library or bookmobile within the past year. And library use declined as people grew older, Gen Xers (ages 36-51) at 45 percent, Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) at 43 percent and the Silent Generation (ages 71-88) at 36 percent.
Millennials were also the most likely to use library websites.
“Relatively high library use by Millennials might be related to changes that many public libraries have undergone in the past 20 years,” the authors of the study wrote. “Previous Pew Research Center surveys have documented how extensively people use computers and internet connections at libraries, as well as how interested they are in extra services such as literacy programs for young children, meeting spaces for community groups, and technology ‘petting zoos’ that provide opportunities to explore 3-D printers and other tech gadgetry.”
Articles about millennials killing off certain industries tend to provoke a similar reaction online every time: Millennials say they simply can’t afford expensive items such as diamonds and home ownership. Many attribute worries about their finances to mounting student loan debt, which was at an average of $37,172 in 2016, up from $24,301 per student in 2012.