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On Millennials, Minimalism, Self-Sufficiency… and Library Use

Posted about 2 years ago by Jonah Butler

Two of the biggest trends among Millennials in 2017 are de-cluttering our lives (thanks in part to Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and becoming more self-sufficient as we bake our own bread or raise adorable urban chickens. And maybe that’s why Millennials are the biggest users of public libraries in America today – according to recent polls, more than half of us have used a public library in the past year, a higher percentage than any other generation.

I will admit: for years, I thought “If I need a book, I can pick it up at [insert bookstore name here].” I would buy yet another title that would sit on shelves that were already bowed from the weight of books bought with good intentions. But I’m proud to admit, I have broken that habit! Now, if I am looking for a book that can guide me through the finer points of urban beekeeping, I can thumb through a copy at my library! And I can do this without committing to it or feeling like I need to splurge on a Triple Venti Jumbo-ccino in order to justify sitting at a table reading it. By simply checking out a book at the library rather than buying it, I’m stopping clutter before it makes its way into my home. I’m also sparing a book from a lifetime with dustbunnies after it gets gently nudged under the bed and forgotten.

I’m not saying I don’t ever buy books – I do.  But I look at it like this: just like taking a car for a test-drive before buying it, I get to try out a book, see if it is worth the investment, and then add it to my bookshelves (which are still groaning, just a little bit more justifiably).

So the next time you are daydreaming about moving into a tiny house, are agonizing about which Homemade Artisan Bagels In 5 Minutes cookbook to buy, or get the itch to throw things away after looking at the cabinet full of junk that the “junk drawer” grew into, remember the library. Remember that there is a place filled with all the knowledge, skills, and helpful hints humans have come up with. And that you “get” to return them by the due date.

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