Why Mostly Older Men Use Libraries

      April 18, 2015 08:13

      A growing number of senior citizens are heading to libraries in search of new pleasures in their retirement, and most are men.

      According to statistics from the National Library of Korea, the number of users over 60 increased 200 percent compared to 10 years ago.

      In 2006, visitors over 60 accounted for 12.44 percent of total visitors, but the proportion almost doubled to 21.72 percent in 2014. This trend appears to reflect the rapidly aging Korean society.

      But men accounted for 98.71 percent of elderly visitors to the National Library and women the vanishing rest in 2006, and in 2014 men still accounted for 95.71 percent. Why?

      Novelist Jung So-seong said, "There seem to be more elderly women than men on tour buses or in restaurants, so maybe it has to do with the roles they played in society."

      The National Library said elderly men seem more interested in subjects like the humanities and Korean classics, as attendance records of lectures on those subjects show.

      Others say elderly women tend to be more sociable. One female novelist said, "Elderly men seem to have a tough time dealing with their free time after retirement, but elderly women have a long list of places they want to visit with their friends."

      Women may also be forced to stay home and take care of their grandchildren.

      Lee Jeong-soo who works in a library in downtown Seoul said elderly men and women behave very differently when using the library. Elderly men sit quietly and read books or use public computers, while elderly women tend to attend lectures that give them a chance to interact with others.

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