Futurists have for many years put paper books and physical libraries on the endangered species list, but so-called digital natives, or those young enough not to have known a world before Internet access was ubiquitous, continue to embrace these analogue formats, according to a report released today by the Pew Research Center.
“Younger Americans’ reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page. And this group’s priorities and expectations for libraries likewise reflect a mix of traditional and technological services,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, a co-author of the report.
Americans under age 30 were more, not less, likely than older adults to have read a printed book in the past year: Three-quarters of younger Americans had done so, compared with 64 percent of older adults, Pew found.
Younger adults were also more likely to use libraries as quiet study and reading spaces; they were just as likely as older adults to browse the stacks of books and borrow from libraries.
Digital natives also saw human librarians as more important than Internet access. Among survey participants under 30, four out of five said it was very important for libraries to have librarians to help people find what they need, while three out of four saw databases and the Internet as very important.