Bruce the Blog

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if you haven’t—have not—been lately to the library. My guess here is that a large proportion of the hands that went up are attached to people who have traditional jobs and are of a certain age range.

Sign Up for E-News

Lately, I’ve become a happy habitue of the public library. (Perhaps because I don’t have a traditional job and I am of an uncertain age range.) I never just return a book and hightail it out of there. I like to linger, explore, flip pages and even photograph covers of books I want to borrow in the future.

What I observe in my bookish rounds is that there’s a lot of baby boomers like me there. Makes sense, right? Boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964. That means boomers born in the first seven or so years of that range now are past the once-official retirement age of 65.

It stands to reason, then, that baby boomers who aren’t “punching a clock” would be the most frequent users of libraries, right?

Not so fast! I was surprised to learn that a fairly fresh survey (taken in fall 2016) found the most likely users of libraries are not baby boomers but of the age group of our children or grandchildren: millennials (ages 18-35 at the time of the survey). The question was worded to specifically include public libraries and to exclude school or campus libraries.

When surveyed by the Pew Research Center, slightly more than half of millennials (53 percent) said they had visited a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. Baby boomers didn’t even come in second! (Oh, the shame.) That position was claimed by Gen Xers (ages 36-51), 45 percent of whom said they had visited the library.

The least frequent users of libraries, according to Pew, are the senior-most generations. Baby boomers (ages 52-70) clocked in at 43 percent, while 36 percent of the silent generation (ages 71-88) reported a library visit in the prior 12 months.

Most of the valuable free programs and services that community libraries like to promote are aimed at the senior generations, so it may come as a surprise that those aren’t the most frequent users of the library (if you go by the Pew survey). Then again, the less frequent usage by that group may help explain why libraries try to engage their interest more aggressively.

Today’s public libraries are more useful and richer in resources than ever. You can collect critical information about senior benefits or taxes, see a play or musical performance for free, learn about local history, join a book club, use computers and internet connections, hold a meeting, play a social game, and much more.

The newest service I’ve discovered is called Kanopy. It’s a streaming service of movies, a la Netflix, and it’s free. If you are registered with Kanopy through a local library, you can watch up to 10 movies a month, and you have up to three days to finish viewing a film.

The unique selection of movies is a carefully curated cross-section of art-house favorites, world cinema, classics, documentaries, hidden gems, short subjects and more. In other words, Kanopy’s movie menu works very hard at not duplicating other streaming services.

Kanopy is just one more reason for people like me to say, “What’s not to love about the library?”

Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events and people through public relations agency APAR PR. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at bruce@aparpr.co or 914-275-6887.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

More than just a book store

What consistently rates 4.9 to 5.0 on the major customer review sites? What business is both destination and resource, a tradition, a haven, valued, endangered and has something for everyone, at every age? 
Hands down, it is your local independent bookstore. They have faced challenges (think “When Harry Met Sally”) and still do (um, Amazon), but those that remain have carved out ...

My Perfect Summer Weekend

I’m so excited to be preparing for a summer jam-packed with diversions! Memorial Day weekend is my official kick-off, but this year the week leading up to the holiday really set the tone for what I’m sure will be a season of adventure. So, while I’m busy planning my routes and exploring new places, I’ll just highlight what I did and where I went and hopefully your ...

Easy as PIE

Lately I’ve been fascinated by a new flavor of pie: psychologically informed environments (PIE). 
This “enabling environment” concept originally appeared as a kind of operational framework for therapeutic communities such as homeless resettlement and social services. I’ll spare you the footnotes and scholarly citations and just sum it up in lay terms: We are affected ...