Books Life + Arts

Library use hot among younger generations, study finds

Dylan Burkett/The Cougar

Public library usage is IN for 2024! 

In November, a study by the American Library Association showed that Gen Zers and Millennials are using public libraries at higher rates than older generations, both in person and online. 

The study, authored by Kathi Inman Berens, Ph.D. and Rachel Noorda, Ph.D. from Portland State University, surveyed about 2,075 Gen Z and Millennials in 2022.  The study found that 54% of them visited a physical library in the past 12 months. 

For biomedical junior Farah Break, the library is a nice place to study and recharge. 

 “I like the sense of community in the library, lots of familiar faces,” she said.

As a regular at the library on campus, Break said that while she enjoys going to the library it gets packed quickly. 

“My favorite part about the library are the study rooms especially when we have an exam to cram for,” Break said.  “However sometimes it can get very packed.” 

More than half of the population that self-reported visiting a library, also said that they borrow from their library’s digital collection. 

“Great news: Younger generations of people are reading books, buying books, and visiting libraries,” said Noorda in a press release. “Not only are Gen Z and Millennials engaging with books, but they are also engaging with other forms of media. They are gamers, readers, writers, and fans who are comfortable with malleability between media categories and forms.” 

The survey found that Gen Zers read and buy more than millennials in all formats and are fonder of physical books than the older generations. 

“As a book lover, I really like reading, especially physical books, it helps my vocabulary grow and expands my imagination as well,”  Break said. 

According to the study, local libraries have also attracted more patrons who don’t identify themselves as readers. More than half of the 43%  of Gen Z and Millennials have been to their library in the past 12 months. 

How to get your own Library Card

Library cards are often free and easy to get. Houston Public Library offers free cards to residents of the city. Anyone who applies for a card outside of the state pays a $40 non-resident fee, which is waived for citizens of Texas not living in Houston. 

You can apply for a library card in person at any Houston Public Library location or online. 

In addition to books and movies, library card holders can access many subscription databases, e-books and e-journals as well as attend various workshops and use services provided by the library. Houston Public Library offers help with college applications and financial aid forms, has classes for the U.S. citizenship test and languages and offers an adult literacy program, among other services. 

How to use Libby 

Let me introduce to you the best thing that has happened to me as a bookworm: Libby. The name short for library, is “a free app where you can enjoy eBooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public library.”

To get started on Libby, you have to download the app, follow the instructions to find your library and sign in with your library card. You can add multiple cards at the same time. 

The selection of the material offered will depend on your library’s collection, after you browse, you can borrow whatever you want to. If something is not available you can place yourself on a hold and a notification will let you know when the title is ready for you to borrow! 

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