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article imageGeneration Y biggest users of libraries

By Chris V. Thangham     Dec 31, 2007 in Lifestyle
The biggest users of libraries are young adults aged 18 to 30 according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey. The high-tech loving group not only loves gadgets but also libraries to gather more information.
In a telephone survey of 2,796 adults about 57 per cent of Americans visited a library in 2007. And among them, Generation Y is the biggest group. The young adults aged 18 to 30 are called Generation Y. To seem them top of the list among library users has surprised many.
Leigh Estabrook, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois and co-author of a report on the survey said: "These findings turn our thinking about libraries upside down."She says the Internet has led people to crave information and makes them visit libraries more.
The survey also found Internet users are twice as likely to visit libraries compared to non-Internet users. This dispels the myth the Internet is taking over libraries.
More than two-thirds of library visitors in all age groups said they used computers while at the library. Now, most of the libraries offer computers for things other than just the Internet; they are also used for document editing, research and searching for books. They also have special sections for children with game and educational activities.
Among those surveyed, 65 per cent used a computer to log-on to the Internet, while a comparable number used it to check the library’s resources. "The survey showed 62 percent of Generation Y respondents said they visited a public library in the past year, with a steady decline in usage according to age. Some 57 percent of adults aged 43 to 52 said they visited a library in 2007, followed by 46 percent of adults aged 53 to 61; 42 percent of adults aged 62 to 71; and just 32 percent of adults over 72."Lee Rainie, co-author of the study and director of the Pew project was also surprised to see a high figure among Generation Y and library use. These findings contradict another study done in 1996 by the Benton Foundation that found young adults saw libraries as becoming less relevant in the future. Now, Rainie says, their younger brothers and sisters are the most avid users.
The survey of 2,796 Americans was conducted by telephone from late June through early September 2007 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. It was funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, an agency that offers federal support for U.S. libraries and museums.
Do you use the library often and see the same trends?
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