PEW Study on Young Adult Reading and Library Habits Released

American Library Association (ALA) president Maureen Sullivan issued the following statement regarding the release of Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits, a comprehensive analysis of reading format trends among sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-old patrons in U.S. libraries. The report shows that libraries play a strong role in the resurgence in reading among young readers. According to the report, eight in ten Americans under the age of thirty have read a book in the past year and are likely to use their local library as a source for print and electronic materials. The report was released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

“As digital natives, young adults, as well as society as a whole, continue to change the way they consume information,” said Sullivan. “Libraries are early adopters of technology and they continue to evolve in our digital world. I am thrilled that young adults are turning to libraries for free e-content and that they view libraries as trusted sources for information.

“Pew’s report comes on the heels of the annual celebration of Teen Read Week, a national literacy initiative sponsored by the ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) that encourages young adults to read for pleasure. During Teen Read Week libraries of all types showcase the various reading formats that libraries offer from traditional print books to e-content.

“The profession’s response to young adult readers with initiatives like Teen Read Week and a special focus on providing young adult patrons with programs and services tailored to their particular needs has increased their use of libraries.”

Sullivan noted that the study shows that 60 percent of those surveyed visited the library last year, while 46 percent turned to their library for research tools; 38 percent borrowed print, audiobooks, or e-books; and 23 percent used newspapers, magazines, or journals.

She said, “It is evident that the report’s findings show that libraries are on course with meeting the demands and needs of young adult users. Libraries provide 24/7 access to library collections via the Web and offer free access to e-books, e-readers, audiobooks, and computers. Librarians will continue to strive to stay at the forefront of this effort through initiatives like the National Forum on Libraries and Teens.

“Even in the digital age, libraries continue to provide critical resources and services to the communities they serve, and, as e-content becomes a staple in libraries, I hope that all content will become freely available as the ALA continues to work with publishers to ensure e-book lending in libraries.”

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