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Books and looks: gen Z is ‘rediscovering’ the public library

The Guardian – Young people are using the hallowed institutions at higher rates than older generations. “And they’re not just there to read. Gen Z seems to love public libraries. A November report from the American Library Association (ALA) drawing from ethnographic research and a 2022 survey found that gen Z and millennials are using public libraries, both in person and digitally, at higher rates than older generations. More than half of the survey’s 2,075 respondents had visited a physical library within the past 12 months. Not all of them were bookworms: according to the report, 43% of gen Z and millennials don’t identify as readers – but about half of those non-readers still visited their local library in the past year. Black gen Zers and millennials visit libraries at particularly high rates. Libraries have never been just about books. These are community hubs, places to connect and discover. For an extremely online generation that’s nearly synonymous with the so-called “loneliness epidemic”, libraries are increasingly social spaces, too…

And a place to flex. On TikTok, Earls posts selfie videos showing him studying, journaling or reading in front of the Bryant Park library’s breathtaking beaux-arts backdrop. The clips get millions of views. “I think people my age are craving something more authentic, and looking for something that’s real,” Earls said. “What’s more real than books and physical material?”..

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