Number of visits and loans on the increase

Both number of visitors, loans and borrowers went up in Danish public libraries in 2015. The libraries hosted yet more events, many of which focused on literature and reading. This is shown in a new publication from the Agency for Culture and Palaces Public libraries in figures 2015. 

With 37.7 mil. visitors in 2015, the public library is still the most popular cultural institution in Denmark. And with more than 20,000 events in 2015, the libraries are offering activities that might open doors to new knowledge and encourage a passion for reading. On the publication of the 2015 edition of Public libraries in figures, the Danish minister for culture, Bertel Haarder, said that the libraries still have strong focus on literature and try to disseminate it in many innovative ways.

When studying the figures more closely, they show an increase compared to previous years in both number of physical visits and visits to the libraries’ digital services – particularly the e-bookshelf. This has resulted in a growing number of loans when adding physical books, ebooks and net audiobooks together.

As there is also an increase of just over 9 percent in number of active borrowers, it is likely that new media forms like for example net audiobooks appeal to new groups of readers. Active marketing and experimenting forms of dissemination are probably also acting as stimulants for delving into the books. Among the libraries’ offers, you find book brunch, book talks, readings, talks on the book season’s publications, literary salons and presentations of literature.

The library is important

In any case, the number of visits speaks for itself as to the libraries’ appeal to the users. More and more people find their way to their local library, which is an indication that also as a physical place the library is of great importance. This is true in urban communities as well as in smaller communities with few cultural offers and places to meet.

The many arrangements draw people in, but equally important is the fact that reading clubs, newspaper readers and students have got a casual area in the public space, where they can meet, be inspired and themselves contribute to launching for example literature events.

The figures used are primarily taken from the libraries’ reporting to Denmark’s Statistics for 2015 and the libraries’ answers for 2015 to the Agency for Culture and Palace’s annual questionnaire, The library barometer.

Senior Advisor Agency for Culture and Palaces
Open Libraries
By the end of 2015, there were a total of 293 open libraries, i.e. libraries with access for the patrons without the presence of staff(help). That is 33 more than the year before and more than 4 times as many open libraries as in 2010.
Opening hours
In 2015, there was access to the country’s libraries 33,350 hours per week. Since 2010, there has been a decrease in hours with service of just over 14 percent, while the total opening hours in 2015 were more than twice as many as in 2010.
Loan of music
The loan of music decreased in 2015 by about 330,000 to just over 1.84 mil. Since 2010, there has been a decrease in loan of music CDs of just over 63 percent as a result of the changed media habits of the population.
Branches and bookmobiles
Number of service points decreased in 2015 from 590 the previous year to 533. Number of branches was in 2015 cut to 319 after having been stable at 352-354 the five years previously. Number of bookmobiles decreased so that in 2015 there were only 21 left compared with 32-33 during the years 2010-14.