Younger Americans are reading more than I thought!Posted: October 25, 2012
My favorite research organization, the Pew Research Center, has come out with a new study showing the reading habits and library use of younger Americans aged 16-29. I was pleasantly surprised to see that older teens and young adults are reading more than I thought! A whopping 83% have read a book in the past year. Let me guess how many of them read The Hunger Games….
Older teens (ages 16-17) in particular are very interested in reading e-books on e-reader devices like the Kindle or NOOK. More than 50% of these teens who have not read an e-book don’t even know that they can borrow e-books from their public library. This is something I hear often from adults — “I had no idea I could get e-books here for free!” — but I don’t hear about from teens. In fact, I don’t hear much from my library’s teens about e-books at all, so I’m curious if they are as interested as the report says and they just aren’t vocal about it.
The report states that “some 58% of those under age 30 who do not currently borrow e-books from libraries say they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to borrow pre-loaded e-readers if their library offered that service.” I was just thinking about this concept of pre-loaded e-readers the other day. In Lafayette Hill, PA, the William Jeanes Library has 12 NOOKs pre-loaded with books that they loan out. I would love to find out how they financed this and how its working so far. It could be a big hit here at my library too.
So why, then, are some teens drawn to the idea of e-books and e-readers? It could be the idea of not having to lug around yet another book in their bags, what with all the textbooks and such they carry around at school all day. But there’s something inevitably cool and futuristic about an e-reader device (or any tech device that fits nicely in your hands, for that matter.) Who wouldn’t want to try it out? If you can’t buy an iPad or other tablet, the next best thing is an e-reader, which seems to be morphing more into tablets lately anyway. I also wonder if teens want to give e-readers a shot because they secretly like reading but wouldn’t be caught dead in public with a print book in their hands. Like a print book says “I’m a nerd” but an e-reader says “I’m trendy.” This is just speculation but I’m willing to bet a few teens think of it this way.
I’m going to ask my Teen Advisory Board about it, get their opinions, see if they are even interested in e-books at all. The TAB has started off very well, by the way, with our first meeting having 13 members! And they had excellent ideas for the library. I noticed I was talking too much at the beginning and steered the conversation so that they would be running the show. What a great bunch of teens! I’m really pumped to keep the meetings going and start putting their ideas into action.