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Young readers say they like books with their digital media


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Lauren Carter won’t choose between reading a paperback book and an electronic book on her touch-screen device. The 27-year-old wants both.

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Shadae McCray (right), 12, and her 15-year-old sister, Renee, use computers in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library. The library has renewed efforts to cater to teenagers and has a second-floor section for them.   SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Shadae McCray (right), 12, and her 15-year-old sister, Renee, use computers in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library. The library has renewed efforts to cater to teenagers and has a second-floor section for them.

At the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, Carter curled up in the young adult reading space with her tablet as rain fell outside. She is inclined to read leisurely using her tablet but just as often browses the library shelves.

“Most people do come to use the Internet. I use it (the library) to conduct research or reading for classes,” said Carter, a former student at Columbus State University now pursuing law school.

Like Carter, others ages 16 to 29 aren’t abandoning printed pages for computers and Internet connections, according to a study published last week by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

“Younger Americans’ library usage (reflects) a blend of traditional and technological services,” the study says. “Americans under age 30 are just as likely as older adults to visit the library, and once there they borrow print books and browse the shelves at similar rates.”

In the past year, 75 percent of younger Americans read at least one printed book, compared with 64 percent of adults ages 30 and older, the survey found. The younger group was more likely to use the library as a hangout space to study or read.

Kristen Eberhart, the young adult librarian at the Augusta library headquarters, said teens visit the library because they need help finding the right information, whether in a book or on the Web.

“With the Internet, they want direction because there is so much information out there,” she said. “You need someone to direct you to what is true, what is credible information, and what is and is not a good source.”

The Augusta library system has a renewed effort to hold programs that cater to teens. In the library, a teen-only section on the second floor was redesigned with bright-red furniture surrounded by popular teen books.

Once a month, the teen advisory group meets with librarians to plan events such as Friday night scavenger hunts among the bookshelves.

Kingston Gary, 15, a member of the teen advisory group, visits the library several times a week. He spends time playing games on the Internet but can also show how he researches school projects and checks out stacks of books.

“It’s a quiet place where I can concentrate,” Gary said. “You can do homework here. You can look up almost any book you need here.”

Teen-friendly programs aim to instill a lifelong need for libraries and help them use larger libraries in secondary education, Eberhart said.

“They know how to maneuver the Internet,” she said. “What they want from the library is a book and answers to questions.”


Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project surveyed 2,252 Americans ages 16 and older between Oct. 15 and Nov. 10, 2012.

 Ages 16 to 29Ages 30 and older
Read at least one print book in past year75 percent54 percent
Visited a library in past year67 percent62 percent
Used computers and Internet at libraries
in past year
38 percent22 percent
Have ever visited a library Web site48 percent36 percent
Used mobile device to visit library Web site
or access library resources in past year
18 percent12 percent
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Riverman1 07/03/13 - 04:52 pm
Dream on. Newspapers thought

Dream on. Newspapers thought the same thing until they went bankrupt.

gargoyle 07/03/13 - 07:32 pm
With printed word context can

With printed word context can be maintained, The time and place can be ascertained with reasonable certainty without fear of additions to or subtraction to the text. Electronic media is fluid with on the fly reformulations to smooth out errors. Has soon as Newspapers realize the depth of field they could add to news stories, not being the first but by being the most competent and reliable they will add to their readership. We don't live in a static world but we do want static points of reference that books and the printed word provide. Young adults can learn from history and our culture by comparing the way stories are portrayed as time goes by. If you doubt me, compare how the Civil War is referenced in textbooks over the last 75 years. I write this as I follow up a lead on a 1800's dictionary.

allhans 07/03/13 - 09:22 pm
I have always been a fan of

I have always been a fan of books..the written kind. One of my great joys.

Riverman1 07/03/13 - 10:24 pm
I get the historical

I get the historical significance of traditional books and their value. Gargoyle makes a good point of books being able to give us the zeitgeist of an era. But I'll add that electronic writing and books can also be kept forever. It's not the beauty of the leather bound volumes that create the value. It's the ideas.

gargoyle 07/03/13 - 11:26 pm
Not only can electronic media

Not only can electronic media be keep forever Riverman it also gets bonus points for the speed opinion or ideas can be shared. Both have good and bad points and have been mastered by few. In a few day's a late 1800's Dictionary will be setting on my turn of the century computer desk for reference" how's that for a time warp clash of technology". Keep a open mind, old and new enhance each other if the best of both are used.

thauch12 07/04/13 - 01:00 am
"Keep a open mind, old and

"Keep a open mind, old and new enhance each other if the best of both are used."

Amen Gargoyle.

There's something to be said about reading an old-fashioned book though; it may be the actual texture of the paper, that inexplicable smell that all books seem to have, or the more subtle feeling of progress one experiences as they flip through the pages.
While I'm not so ignorant as look past the growing popularity of Kindles, Nooks, iPads, etc., there is some intangible quality about picking up a physical book that I'm not sure I'll ever get over.

seenitB4 07/04/13 - 11:42 am
aahh the smell --the feel

What can I say...there is nothing like the feel of a good book.....makes me soo happy....
We need it in the world of today more than ever....our young will benefit from the ole fashion form of reading a good book.
My brain cells get excited just thinking of the joy I have while reading...if only we could find a way to transfer this to our younger generation.

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