Danish public libraries in figures 2014

In 2014, the Danish Agency for Culture once again issued the publication Public libraries in figures, which is based on data from the Agency and Statistics Denmark’s annual questionnaire survey, The Library Barometer.

The figures show that a typical Danish public library today acts as an informal learning, inspiration and meeting place, adapting to local conditions with different types of users, while at the same time tailoring its services to accommodate the 24/7 society. One third of the country’s libraries are part of a cultural centre.

Over the past five years, the number of libraries has been stable. In 2014, there were a total of 484 libraries with a materials collection, i.e. central libraries, branches and mobile libraries. Since 2010, there has also been an increase of the socalled service points, where you can return your library loans and collect the materials you have ordered.

Continued increase of open libraries

More and more libraries offer the users access to the library, also when the staff is not on duty – primarily in the morning and the evening and at the weekend. By the end of 2014, there were a total of 260 so-called open libraries compared to 195 the year before. Opening hours without service now make up 61 percent of the libraries’ collective opening hours.

Since 2010, the number of physical visits has been stable at around 36 mil. More and more people also use the libraries’ electronic services, e.g. some of the libraries’ joint net services (net libraries) particularly Litteratursiden (literature), but also Filmstriben (movies) and Netlydbog (audio books).

Increase in arrangements

From 2013 to 2014 the number of active borrowers increased by about 50,000 to just over 1,8 mil. The libraries’ total number of loans of physical materials, on the other hand, has fallen to about 37,3 mil. units – a drop of 2,4 mil. since 2013. This applies particularly to music. The physical books amounted to 27,6 mil. loans, while e-books constituted 1,6 mil. loans.

In 2014 1 mil. new books were purchased – a drop compared to 2013 of 2 percent and compared to 2010 of 10 percent.

The number of arrangements in the libraries was in 2014 just over 18,500 and has increased by 13 percent since 2013. Since 2011, the increase has been 38 percent. The increase is due to for example author and music arrangements and talks.

Learning and meeting space

The library is more and more being used as informal learning and meeting space. The increase is i.a. the result of the citizens’ need for being able to use digital selfservice solutions. In 2014, for example, the libraries in 85 municipalities out of 98 had open it-cafés compared to 68 municipalities the year before.

Increasingly, the libraries provide access to a number of tools and workshops, where the public can participate, discover and create. It is a transformation process for the libraries as well as the users, where new forms of facilitation, collaboration and professional competence are developed. The users may, for example, work imaginatively with digital and physical creations by using 3D printers, laser cutters and other new technology.

Costs more or less unchanged

In 2014, new libraries were built in 9 Danish municipalities. 17 municipalities have rebuilt a library, while 47 have changed the interior design. Thus, the high level of activity from 2013 continues.

In relation to 2013, no important changes in the libraries’ net expenses have taken place, but since 2010 there has been a fall of about 7,5 percent.

Senior Advisor Agency for Culture and Palaces