Americans Went to the Library Nearly Twice as Often as the Movies in 2019, Gallup Poll Finds

diignat/iStock via Getty Images
diignat/iStock via Getty Images

When it comes to getting Americans out of the house, public libraries remain undefeated. According to a Gallup poll conducted in early December, adults averaged 10.5 trips to the library in 2019, compared to just 5.3 movie theater outings. Libraries also outpaced live sporting events, live music or theatrical events, national or historical parks, museums, casinos, amusement parks, and zoos by even greater margins.

As Forbes reports, women are largely responsible for libraries’ dazzling performance in the poll: They averaged 13.4 visits for the year, while men only tallied 7.5. Their numbers were almost even for concerts, zoos, museums, and movies, but men spent about twice as much time as women at casinos, sporting events, and parks.

People with higher incomes participated in more activities overall, which isn’t exactly surprising, since tickets to concerts and sports games don’t come cheap, and even free museums and national parks can end up costing a bunch if you have to travel to get there. Meanwhile, lower-income households frequented libraries significantly more often than wealthier people did: Households that earn less than $40,000 per year averaged 12.2 visits, and those with an income of $100,000 or more went 8.5 times. As Gallup points out in its report, this discrepancy probably isn’t just about free book rentals. Public libraries these days offer a variety of services, programs, and resources, which often include access to computers and free Wi-Fi.

Age also factors into Americans’ library habits. In 2019, people between the ages of 18 and 29 clocked an impressive average of 15.5 visits to the library, about three more than 30-to-49-year-olds and nearly nine more than 50-to-64-year-olds.

But the overwhelming takeaway is clear—regardless of age, gender, or economic status, Americans spent more time at the library in 2019 than any other recreational location. How do the stats compare to time spent binge-watching full series on Netflix, you ask? Well, that’s a question for another poll.

[h/t Forbes]

Kids Can Join Children's Book Author Mo Willems for Daily "Lunch Doodles" on YouTube

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

For children interested in taking drawing lessons, there are few better teachers than Mo Willems. The bestselling author and illustrator has been charming young readers for years with his Pigeon picture book series. Now, from the Kennedy Center, where he's currently the artist-in-residence, Willems is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" videos that viewers can take part in wherever they are. New lessons are posted to the Kennedy Center's YouTube channel each weekday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak closing schools across the country, many kids are now expected to continue their education from home. For the next several weeks, Willems will be sharing his time and talents with bored kids (and their overworked parents) in the form of "Lunch Doodles" episodes that last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In the videos, Willems demonstrates drawing techniques, shares insights into his process, and encourages kids to come up with stories to go along with their creations.

"With millions of learners attempting to grow and educate themselves in new circumstances, I have decided to invite everyone into my studio once a day for the next few weeks," Willems writes for the center's blog. "Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons. We are going to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making."

If kids don't want to doodle during lunch, the videos will remain on YouTube for them to tune in at any time. The Kennedy Center is also publishing downloadable activity pages to go with each episode on its website [PDF]. For more ways to entertain children in quarantine or isolation, check out these livestreams from zoos, cultural institutions, and celebrities.

This App Lets You Download Free E-Books, Magazines, Comic Books, and Audiobooks From Your Library

boggy22, iStock via Getty Images
boggy22, iStock via Getty Images

Even if your local library is closed during the novel coronavirus outbreak, you can still use your library card in quarantine. As Thrillist reports, Libby is an app that works with local libraries to give you free access to audiobooks, e-books, comic books, and magazines wherever you are.

Libby, an app from the digital reading company Overdrive, is connected to 90 percent of public libraries in North America. To use the app, just enter the information from your library card and start browsing digital titles available through your local branches. If you don't have a library card yet, some participating libraries will allow you to sign up for a digital card in the app. That way, you don't have to leave home to start reading.

As more people are looking for e-books and audiobooks to pass the time at home, Overdrive has made it possible for multiple users to check out the same title at once. That means as more libraries shift to a 100 percent online loan system for the time being, it will be easier to meet their patrons' needs.

No matter what your current literary mood may be, you should have no trouble finding something to read on Libby. Downloadable titles from the New York Public Library currently available through the app include the e-book of Becoming by Michelle Obama, the e-book of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, and the audiobook of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. After you download a book, you can send it to your Kindle device, and all items are automatically returned on their due date. Download the free app today to start browsing.

[h/t Thrillist]