MTV recently surveyed its core audience, the Millennials, in order to better understand the younger subset of that group, ages 13-17, as they age into the older group, ages 18-24. And while the results may not be surprising, MTV’s deft interpretation of the responses divides the Millennials into two distinct archetypes as represented by the two biggest names in fiction over the past 15 years—Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen.
“The magical wizard Harry Potter (the “older” end of the generation): These “first wave Millennials” (today’s 20-somethings) came of age in the economic boom of the 1990s/2000s, a time infused with the spirit of “Yes We Can” and the belief that college, working hard, and playing by the rules would guarantee future success. Raised by idealistic Boomer parents, they were told they were special and gifted, with a magic wand capable of changing the world. They were shaped by a context of seemingly limitless possibilities.
The Hunger Game’s trailblazing survivalist Katniss Everdeen (the younger end of the generation, peeking into Gen Z): This second wave of Millennials, today’s tweens and teens, have known a very different youth. They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through “a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.”
According to MTV, the younger Millennials have high expectations for themselves, want to have clear goals and plans for the future, and are likely to engage in DIY learning. So what does this mean to teen services librarians? Possible library programming for the “Katniss” group could include SAT prep for tweens, financial planning, and “share an expert” presentations. And because “57% like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands,” consider cooking, woodworking, sewing, or pottery classes to share with teens.
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