February 19, 2009

Yes it’s true! Readers flock to libraries as ‘money is tight’

The fortune of libraries north of the border has taken a turn for the better in light of the economic downturn, Scottish newspaper The Herald reports.

Glasgow libraries saw a 12% rise in usage over December compared with the same time the previous year, while Edinburgh has “noted a gradual percentage rise”, a trend which is likely to “continue upwards”‘. The article cited library usage in the US, where services are reporting “jumps of up to 65%” on the previous year.

The head of Glasgow’s libraries, Karen Cunningham, said non-fiction borrowing was up 26% in the city.

“We’ve noticed over the past few months there has been a sudden rise in membership statistics, footfall and book-borrowing statistics,” she was reported as saying. “The only reason we can think of is that people are returning to free public libraries when money is tight and because they can use the PCs. There is also anecdotal evidence that people are cutting back on broadband and book sales are declining.”