Tuesday 30 November 2021

A turn-up for the books: young readers drive increase in library borrowing

Interior of Amsterdam's public library

Amsterdam’s public library. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dutch libraries are lending more books to readers, reversing a long-running downward trend, new figures show.

A study commissioned by education minister Jet Bussemaker found that 75 million books were borrowed from the 770 public libraries in 2015, slightly more than the previous year.

Overall membership numbers fell for the fifth year in a row, but this was offset by a 2% increase in the number of children who were members, to 2.3 million. Children’s books accounted for half the total borrowed and the figure was 2 million higher than in 2014.

The success was partly put down to libraries organising more events such as public readings and debates. In 2015 82,000 events were organised in libraries, compared to 72,000 the year before.

Bussemaker praised libraries for successfully reinventing themselves for the 21st century. ‘The library has become an attractive place for young people and adults to meet,’ she said.

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