Sydney Rosinski ’18
When thinking about public libraries, a specific image may come to mind: the year is 2007 and the kids section of the Thousand Oaks Library is swarmed with people-a normal weekend activity for the time period.
As time has passed, these establishments have been forgotten and those beloved library cards are long gone. But this proves to be incorrect for one age group, and that would be millennials.
Millennials, aged 18-35, have been harrassed in recent months for never buying property, deemed to being renters for life and of course, wasting money on avocados for toast. However this generation is at fault for a wonderful thing, which is being the age group that’s the highest among public library goers.
A Pew Research Center report has found that over fifty three percent of millennials have said they’ve used a public library within the last year, not including on-campus libraries.
Many libraries have recently modernized their facilities with 3D printers and high-speed internet. With air-conditioning benefits in the summer, younger people tend to visit libraries to get away from the heat and possibly their roommates, since most millennials tend to live in apartments or houses with others.
Additionally millennials are realizing just how expensive it can be to go to Barnes and Noble and buy a few books, so they take advantage of community resources and go to the library.
Libraries are often clean, calm and organized, drawing in more visitors that come to read, study or just hangout. Aside from the classic, paperback book, libraries offer a range of audiovisual material as well as e-books.
In addition to millennial’s increasing library use, more are expressing interest in becoming librarians. One librarian, Priya Charry, who is in her mid-20s, graduated with her Master’s degree in library science and now works as a part-time librarian, says, “We need to rethink the stereotypical librarian … we need to reimagine what libraries can do for young people.”
“Before I started working in a library, I would hang out in libraries all the time, just as a place where people are willing to have a conversation or make recommendations for me,” said Charry in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor. “One of the biggest values of the library, for all ages, is that it’s a free place where you can be outside of your home and outside of work.”
Some public libraries in Los Angeles are bringing in community members by hosting social nights, movie nights and book clubs. The TO Library hosts movie nights, poetry readings and free homework help every Monday through Friday.