ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — New data shows libraries are a hit with millennials. But literature isn't the only thing drawing them in. A Pew Research Center poll suggests that people 18-40 years old are now using libraries more than any other generation. Officials with the Anchorage Public Library System confirm that foot and digital traffic has been increasing over the past year.
Visits to the Anchorage Public Library System are up by 36 percent according to APLS data when compared with numbers from the same time last year. And yes some of those visitors are millennials according to Anchorage Public Library System Adult Services coordinator Stacia McGourty.
"They're doing whatever adults do at the library," McGourty said. "They're reading books, they're on computers, they're applying for jobs, they're going to paper crafters, and they’re hitting book clubs, and going to nerd night."
McGourty also said that attendance for some programs is up by as much as 98 percent compared to the last year. But librarians say they need to provide more and different services to users ever changing demands.
"It's constantly evolving. There are a lot more e-books and online components to it," said Teen Services Librarian Jon Ebron. "There's a lot more fun programming and stepping away from a place that's just a repository, a warehouse of books. We're more about community."
Ebron says the APLS digital app is one of the library system's most effective tools in reaching users and increasing engagement.
"That's definitely true about millennials," Ebron said. "They are just reading all the Hunger Games, Twilight, everything. As far as our age group, we're more likely to come to a library because it's a free resource."
Ebron says that millennials are the first to grow up with constant access to online technology and data. And now may be finding new ways to connect with an age-old resource in the community.