eBook loans record 250% increase in libraries – NSO

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The number of eBook loans from Maltese libraries has increased by almost 250% in the last two years, new figures show.

According to figures from the National Statistics Office, the number of eBook loans from Maltese libraries has grown from 3,008 to 8,200 between 2016 and 2018, (2017 – 4,521).

The growth of digital loans vastly outpaces that of more conventional book loans and from brick and mortar libraries at the Central, Regional and Branch levels.

Second to eBooks, Branch libraries in Malta registered an increase in loans in 2018, from 2016. This was recorded from 315,673, to 364,380 to 433,867. Regional libraries saw a rise from 275,875 to 285,037 in 2017, finally reaching 324,860 in 2018.

Central branch libraries also saw a gradual fall in their numbers from 106,940 in 2016, to 124,634 in 2017 and 120,195 in 2018. Similar trends were recorded with Gozo’s Central Public Library from 28,634 in 2016, to 33,829 in 2017 and 29,610 in 2018.

Overall, the number of books being loaned from Maltese libraries increased over the two year period. This has risen from 844,598 to 1,022,346.

Children making up most library visitors

According to NSO’s figures, the highest number of new visitors to libraries in Malta, continue to be Juniors 13 years old and younger.

In 2018 alone, 3,880 Juniors visited the library compared to 94 Teens aged between 14 and 17 years old. This was far fewer among Teens with Adult lending rights (16). This trend is replicated with Juniors and Intermediate teens without Maltese citizenship, 106 and 4 respectively.

The total number of Juniors visiting the library also represented more than double the number of Adults for 2018. This figure sat at 1,946.

Overall, this meant that as a percentage, Juniors represented 66% of all new visitors compared to 34% of Adults.

Southern Harbour highest loans per district

By district and locality breakdown, the Southern Harbour represented the highest increase in book loans per region of Malta and Gozo.

This figure had risen from 211,816 to 234,021 in 2017, to 256,977 in 2018.

This figure is despite 5 of the 12 localities within the region recording drops in the number of book loans in 2018 from the preceding two years.

Paola records the highest increase from 27,803 in 2016 to 27,221 in 2017 and finally 41,692 in 2018. Luqa is second, rising from 25,540 in 2016 to 29,526 in 2017 and finally 37,929 in 2018.

Second by district was the Northern Harbour region, at 256,977 total book loans.

Birkirkara recorded the highest number of loans but only a gradual increase by locality, from 113,101 in 2016, to 112,441 in 2017 and 113,061 in 2018.

Qormi represented the highest increase on the two year period to 2018, from 64,719 to 79,171 and 86,110 in 2018.

Gozo and Comino’s total book loans recorded a fluctuation in loans over the two year period, from 143,102 to 132,404 and 135,224 in 2018. Nadur recorded the highest and continual number of loans at 49,322 in 2018. Victoria, which represents the second highest level, recorded a drop in 2018 at 29,610, from 33,829 in 2017.