To Amelia Longo, the city’s public libraries are more than just a book repository.
Longo, 35, says the library is “expansive," offering not just books and materials, but free events and programs, as well as a free space to read, hang out, do work, meet up, and reorient between travels. It’s “a space that I can be for free and that has WiFi,” she said.
Longo, of Point Breeze, is one of many millennials across the city who rely on libraries as public spaces that provide free WiFi and programming, digital services, and the chance to connect with their community.
The city’s millennials hold 222,225 library cards — the most when compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers — but they borrow fewer items, data from the Free Library show, suggesting the group engages with branches in ways that go beyond simply renting materials.
In 2018, millennials borrowed 703,589 items, placing them third behind Gen Xers (756,718 items) and boomers (934,221). Across the board, the generations borrowed fewer items at the Free Library from 2017 to 2018, the data showed.