Kids Still Love Reading
October 23, 2012

Kids Still Love Reading Books, Physical And Digital

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Just as the seasons flow from one to the next, so too will the younger generation continue to confound and infuriate the older generations before them. It´s simply the way of life.

So, while it´s never difficult to write these youths off as different or doomed, it could be beneficial to both sides of the yard (both those on the porch and those encroaching upon it) to find some good in the other.

For instance, many have wondered aloud if today´s teens would be ruined by the Internet and social networking; Facebook, Twitter and the like. A new Pew Internet survey about teens and their interactions with books, the library and reading shows that these kids aren´t only likely to reach for a book in their spare time, they´re also more likely than us older folks to do the same from time to time.

During the past year, more than 8 in every 10 Americans aged 16 through 29 read a book, and even 6 out of these 10 went to their public library to find it.

The youngest in this set, 16 through 24, were most likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. These young students aren´t just visiting the library because they´re being asked to by their educational institutions, either. According to the Pew survey, these youths are not only seeking out the library on their own accord, they´re also looking for other ways to digest these books, specifically through e-readers and other mobile devices.

"We found that about 8 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 have read a book in the past year. And that's compared to about 7 in 10 adults in general, American adults. So, they're reading – they're more likely to read, and they're also a little more likely to be using their library,” explained Kathryn Zickuhr, the study's main author in an interview with NPR.

These youths are also more likely to feel nostalgic about their books rather than yearn for a paperless society.

"We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don't want e-books to replace print books. They see them as part of the same general ecosystem; e-books supplement their general reading habits,” continued Zickuhr.

"We haven't seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books. That might happen in the future, but right now we're just seeing them sort of as a more convenient supplement."

Many of those surveyed who said they read e-books said they were more likely to choose this medium when they didn´t have the time to dedicate to several chapters, or when they found a book they loved so much they wanted to always have it available.

One young man in the NPR article even mentioned buying every edition in the Harry Potter series twice– once in physical form, once in digital– just to ensure he always had a copy.

And while many libraries may have been distressed about a paperless future full of unread youths, the survey suggests some of these younger people are quite open to the idea of visiting their local library to check out e-readers that are already stocked full of popular titles.

“A lot of libraries are really looking at how they can engage with this younger age group, especially with Americans in their teens and early 20s. And so a lot of libraries are looking at ways to sort of give them their own space in the libraries, have activities just for them,” concluded Zickuhr.

“Some libraries even have diner-style booths for the teens where they can just socialize and hang out, and so that they can think of the library as a space of their own."