Which generation uses libraries most? The answer will probably surprise you.

Millennials are more likely than any other generation to use a public library, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.  

Researchers from Pew surveyed 1,601 people aged 16 and older. The responses were broken into gender, age, education, and race. Researchers defined millennials as people between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time they were surveyed.

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An analysis found that 53% of millennials had used a public library or a bookmobile in the past 12 months, compared with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers, and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. Millennials were also more likely to have used a library website than other generations—nearly twice as many millennials (41%) as Boomers (24%) reported doing so.

However, millennials were not more likely to use library mobile apps than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Less than 10% of people in each of the three generations used library mobile apps.

Notably, Pew did not include academic libraries in their definition of a public library—so the results are not skewed by millennials visiting libraries on their college campuses.

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Writing for Pew's blog, Abigail Geiger suggests that libraries owe their success with millennials to modernization efforts over the past two decades. Libraries today are stocked with computers and internet access, as well as community services like meeting space, technology "petting zoos" featuring gadgets like 3-D printers, and reading programs for children, she writes (Geiger, Pew Research Center, 6/21; Pew Research Center report, accessed 6/21).

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