Older Americans Less Likely to Visit a Library, Study Shows

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11th July 2014 17:45 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

People aged 65 and over are less likely to have visited a library than their younger counterparts, according to a study by the Pew Research Centre.

The survey, conducted with over 6,000 Americans aged 16 and above, indicated that, bar a slight rise for the 50-64 year-old category, public library attendance decreased with age:

Age group

16-17

18-29

30-49

50-64

65+

% to have ever visited
a public library

86%

81%

81%

82%

77%

 
The number of people who had visited a library in the past 12 months followed a similar trend too:

Age group

16-17

18-29

30-49

50-64

65+

% visited a library
in last 12 months

59%

48%%

52%%

46%

39%


Although around 10% of the sample admitted they had never stepped foot in a library, they do still have a positive view of them. Two fifths (40%) of those who have never been in a library said someone in their household is a library user, and a similar proportion said libraries are important to promote literacy and reading, and give everyone a chance at succeeding. Over half (55%) said the loss of their local library would be a blow to the community.

 Although the number of people opting to read e-books is on the rise, print copies still dominate the overall figures. In the last year, over three quarters (76%) of the sample said they had read at least one book – 65% of which read from a print copy, and three in 10 (28%) of which chose an e-book.

When it came to reading books in bed, however, e-books (45%) were marginally preferred to print copies (43%). People favoured e-books for speedy access and portability, and print books for reading to their children or sharing with others.

Finally, over half (54%) of print readers said they would rather buy their own book than borrow, with just over three fifths (61%) of e-book readers agreeing.

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