New study confirms an alarming trend: Young people are loitering … at the library!
This trend proves a sad fact – kids don’t know how to misspend their youth anymore. So, if you’re looking for your older teen/young twenty-something and suspect they’re up to something, check the library. This new study from the Pew Research Center‘s Internet and American Life Project says that’s where they might be.
These rebellious youth still don’t listen to their elders. And it’s a good thing in this case, because young people are not adhering to us oldsters’ moans of “Kids aren’t reading enough” and “There’s too much competition for the written word” and “The library isn’t relevant anymore!”
In fact, according to the study, “More than eight in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. At the youngest end of the spectrum, high schoolers in their late teens (ages 16-17) and college-aged young adults (ages 18-24) are especially likely to have read a book or used the library in the past 12 months.”
As a movie fan, I can’t help remembering a line from the 2004 techno-mystery/action-thriller I, Robot. Angered by Detective Spooner’s (Will Smith) distrust of technology taking over the world in the year 2037, the robotics billionaire Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood) snaps, “And I suppose you would have banned the Internet just to keep the libraries open!” I remember stroking my chin and thinking, “Mmm, prophetic words …”
Turns out, I was wrong – partially at least. Many of our young people do know where the library is and how to use it and it is indeed quite important to them!
What’s got me on about libraries this week is that I’m working with the Youth Librarian at the Johnson City Public Library to plan a daylong Teen Lit Fest that will feature the official release party for my YA thriller The League of Delphi. What I see every time I enter the library is people of all ages swarming like brainy ants at the book shelves and information desks (not only at the free computers). As I was leaving there a few days ago, I was marveling at the sheer volume of information that a book can hold, how intimate the relationship is between writer and reader, and how much information and expression is in that building alone.
While I would like to think that I’m the only one clever enough to have such deep and reflective thoughts about books and the importance of the library, it turns out not to be such a unique sentiment. And, lucky for all of us, our young people know it and are using their library for more than just an Internet node.
Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.
3 unspoken reasons young adults are at the library
- Heard about the hilariously naive sex scenes in Judy Bloom’s books.
- Thought it was a retro Aeropostale clothing store.
- Just to piss off their parents.