What's the draw? The working theory is most of these people were in their teens as libraries transformed themselves and powered up with PC's, DVD's and other modern technologies. Online may give information. But there is a difference if you can hold the book or reference material in your own hand. Answers about medical issues seem to be the biggest initial information quests and then it blossoms. Leading in using the library, Gen Y'ers also realize the library is a great spot in urban settings to snag free WiFi. A fast connection rules! But it is better than being at Starbuck's because there are plenty of electrical outlets at the library to plug into, just no triple lattes or baked snacks at the Librarian's information counter.
"The age of books isn't yet over," said Lee Rainie, Pew's director.
"It was truly surprising in this survey to find the youngest adults are the heaviest library users," Rainie said. "The notion has taken hold in our culture that these wired-up, heavily gadgeted young folks are swimming in a sea of information and don't need to go to places where information is."
The Library of Congress is a masterpiece of architecture created from marble, limestone and one man's foresight. It is a treasure and though only having been in it once, I vow to return. The Library of Congress: The Art and Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building, weighing in at a hefty four pounds and with a price tag worthy of that because of the color pictures, simulates the feeling of being in America's grandest library. Henry Hope Reed, John Young Cole and Herbert Small are the editors.
"Internet use seems to create an information hunger and it is information-savvy young people who are most likely to visit libraries," she said.
Sixty-five percent of them looked up information on the Internet while 62 percent used computers to check into the library's resources.
Public libraries now offer virtual homework help, special gaming software programs, and some librarians even have created characters in the Second Life virtual world, Estabrook said. Libraries also remain a community hub or gathering place in many neighborhoods, she said.