Bookworms Unite! Americans Visit the Library More Than the Movies, Survey Finds

There were a whopping 786 movies released in the United States and Canada in 2019, but instead of heading to the box office, most people were actually checking out a good book. A recent survey reveals Americans went to the library more than they went to a movie theater. In fact, library trips were the top activity out of the nine hobby options.

The findings come from a Gallup poll, an update to a 2001 survey, published on January 24. The organization surveyed 1,254 adults across the country and asked each person to note how many times in the past year they attended different pastimes. The options included: go to a library, go to a movie at a movie theater, attend a live sporting event, attend a live music or theatrical event, visit a national or historical park, visit a museum, visit a gambling casino, go to an amusement or theme park, and visit a zoo.

woman standing in a library reading a book
portishead1/Getty Images

Those surveyed went to the library an average of 10.5 times in 2019. The second most frequented activity was going to a movie at a movie theater with 5.3 trips per year. The third was attending a live sporting event with 4.7 excursions in the past year. The last activity was visiting a zoo, with just .9 trips per year.

Interestingly, though millennials have grown up in the digital age with a slew of gadgets, people ages 18 to 29 went to the library the most with an average of 15.5 trips per year. The second highest group was individuals ages 30 to 49, with 12.3 visits in 2019. Women also reported going to the library twice as often as men, with 13.4 trips compared to 7.5 trips in the past year.

According to Gallup, the reason for outings to the library taking the top spot could be for a variety of reasons. Public libraries are free and offer a range of perks beyond lending out books. A study by the Pew Research Center reveals that women are more than twice as likely as men to be involved in literary groups such as book clubs, which could be a reason why they're heading to their local library.

As new, innovative technologies, such as smartphones, change how we do everyday tasks, it's encouraging to see that people still enjoy unplugging and curling up with a good book.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles