Maybe Younger Library Users Aren’t so Different

Jan 29, 2019

By Doug Johnson
On the Blue Skunk Blog

The Pew report: Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations (shared by the State Library of North Carolina) did not surprise me in revealing that our kids and young adults want their libraries to be more tech-enhanced than we old goats. See the chart above.

What the report did make reflect upon is just how much our younger people still value many traditional library resources and services. As much as I have encouraged libraries and librarians to embrace new technologies (starting with The Virtual Librarian in 1993), we need to recognize, maintain, and even strengthen those traditional attributes of our libraries that are valued – even by our younger “techies.”

Those traditional areas that jumped out at me from this report include:

  • Reading print books
  • Wanting librarians who help locate resources
  • Valuing physical library spaces for reading, studying, and media consumption
  • Having availability of separate social spaces in libraries
  • Needing programs and classes
  • Providing job and career help

I am guilty of advocating for library evolution. I believe libraries must change to increase their odds of continued existence. But has this been at the cost of not recognizing and promoting those wonderful services and resources and spaces all generations love and value. In fact, it’s been those very things that have made me personally a vocal advocate for libraries.

Read the report. What are your take-aways?

Reposted under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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