Young Adults Still Use Libraries As E-Readers, Smartphones Reign Supreme

Oct 25, 2012

Young people still go to public libraries according to a recent study by Pew Research Center.  As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, teens continue to visit libraries despite the popularity of using digital devices to consume media. 

The Pew study found that sixty percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 use their local library. In a traditional sense, libraries offer printed materials and special programming for patrons.  Some libraries even have teen librarians on staff. But that's not always possible depending on budget constraints.

Carl DeMilia is director of New Milford's public library. He's also President of the Connecticut Library Association. DeMilia says teens like using the both library space and resources.

"We see two types of users. For technology, we have kids that come in and make use of library computers. And then many others come in and make use of their own technology, laptops in particular."

Many libraries now offer e-books that can be used on readers like Kindles or even on a smartphone with a certain app. The Pew Study found teens are interested in e-books but they download them to their phones instead of an e-reader or tablets. The study also found that teens often don't know they can check out certain e-books fro their local library.  

DeMilia says libraries need to work on this.  

"Here in New Milford we have quite a number of people who bought readers and we offer e-book services on a limited basis depending on what a publisher allows us to do. Traditionally, libraries for no matter what service have to do a better job promoting themselves because we have such a great amount of resources. We have to promote them better. "  

DeMilia says teens embrace e-book resources often for school assignments but when it comes to leisure  reading, at his library, teens still prefer reading an actual book rather than a screen .