John Lustig, of Last Kiss Comics, spoke to City Council on April 2o addressing library use and teens. He remarked, “Publishing in general is down except for one aspect of the book business—which is exploding—largely fueled by teen and young adult readers. I’m talking about —or really, really thick comic books. In seven years, sales have increased 500 percent and last year were estimated at $375 million. Graphic novels are now a major attraction in libraries and bookstores. How major? A few years ago, my daughter and her friends learned Japanese primarily so that they could read Japanese graphic novels. Today, hundreds of these books have been translated and published and are more popular than ever. And kids are devouring them. But times are tough. That means–for many kids—there’s only one place where they can find these books. Whether it’s graphic novels or Harry Potter or Moby Dick, it’s the library that’s going to keep our kids excited and reading. ” See what John said about his testimony and what others are saying about it at the last kiss blog.
Yes, teens are going to libraries. In 2007 the American Libraries Association, through Harris Interactive, polled 1262 youth aged 8-18. Among respondents, 78% had a library card and 78% said they use the library to borrow books and other materials for personal use. And yes, teens are feeling the economic challenges. 53 percent say they’re choosing activities that cost less money, 50 percent say they talk about the economy with their friends, and 14 percent of kids ages 15 to 17 say they contribute money to their family budget, according to a new survey by Junior Achievement.
But libraries are popular among all age groups. According to Harris Interactive, 2/3rds of America currently has a library card and almost all Americans (92%) say they view their local library as an important education resource. Seven in ten agreed their local library is a pillar of the community (72%), a community center (71%), a family destination (70%), and a cultural center (69%).
Thank you to everyone that testified or contacted elected officials this Spring to express support for libraries. Your voice made a difference.