Are we reading more? Books borrowed from public libraries up by 12%

The number of books loaned out by Malta's public libraries inreased to more than a million in 2018, according to figures published by the National Statistics Office 

The number of books borrowed from public libraries increased by 12.2% in 2018 when compared to the previous year, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Administrative data provided by Malta Libraries indicates that in 2018, the total number of book loans stood at 1,022,346, an increase of 111,370 over the previous year.

The increase in book loans was registered across all districts.

The largest increase in book loans was registered by public libraries in the Western region. In total, this district had a year-on-year increase of 36.6%, with the main increase coming from the public libraries of Ħad-Dingli, Attard, and Mtarfa, at the rates of 74.3%, 52% and 48.3% respectively.

Public libraries in Senglea, Kerċem and Kalkara registered decreased book loans of 48.2%, 27.9% and 18.4% respectively.

In 2018, book acquisitions amounted to 36,369, down by 20.9% when compared to the previous year.

Book donations and book purchases at public libraries also decreased by 28.5% and 11.9% respectively.

On the other hand, the acquisition of eBooks recorded an increase when compared to the previous year.

New members frequenting public libraries have also increased, up by 22.4% when compared to 2017. Persons under the age of 18, made up 65.5% of new members. 

In 2018, the number of books and periodicals received by the National Library of Malta under legal deposit reached 1,741, an increase of 29.9% when compared to 2017. The share of periodicals accounted for 70.9% of these deposits.

Both imports and exports of printed book material and periodicals during 2018 have also declined when compared to the previous year and stood at €12 and €4.7 million respectively.

In 2018, the value of imports also declined by 9.8%, while exports fell by 13.5%, which shows a final consumption decrease of 0.1% on printed material.