This past weekend I attended the ALA Midwinter conference here in Seattle. It was wonderful, uplifting, invigorating and exhausting. I will be sharing more about it in future blogs. One of the session I went to was a presentation from the Pew Internet and American Life Project (libraries.perinternet.org ) sponsored by the Gates Foundation on the reading habits of American.
Have you ever wondered about the reading habits of younger Americans, those aged between 16 and 29, and how do they compare with the rest of us? Pew Internet did a poll. These young Americans read more than any other group. And the youngest in the study, those age 16-17 are more likely to be reliant on their library for their reading material. While it is unclear whether they are talking about their school library or their public library, I find the results heartening. Of those teens who professed to have read a book in the last year, 76% read for pleasure!
Is the physical book on its way out? Not according to this study. Teenagers are reading; 77% read a physical book in the last year. Ebooks are less popular, only 12% of 16 and 17 year olds read an ebook. This bears out the research that Rebecca Moore did with the teenagers on our campus – for the most part our readers prefer a physical book.
Teenagers are some of the most active users of libraries – this high use is readily apparent in our own library. It was great to have affirmation of teenagers interest in libraries and reading. Despite the slower interest with teens, Ebooks are trending upwards. We have begun to foray into the econtent area. We have 3 Nook readers, preloaded with some great fiction for faculty and student checkout. Nonfiction ebooks are also well represented in the Overlake Library with over 1,000 volumes our community can access through our card catalog and through the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).
Let us know about your reading? And if you are reading econtent. Currently I am reading Lower River by Paul Theroux. The main character has looked back with longing his entire adult life to his time in Africa in the Peace Corps in an isolated village. In his mid 60s he returns to find that things have changed dramatically. Listed as one of the best books of 2012 – it is a fascinating psychological study.