Library users take fewer books

People are taking out fewer books from the public libraries in Marlborough but are using online services much more, chief librarian Glenn Webster says.

Mr Webster told the Marlborough District Council community and financial planning committee meeting on Tuesday that both Blenheim and Picton libraries have experienced decreases in the previous year. People visiting Blenheim library was 2 per cent down on last year, with a 7 per cent drop in book issues, and Picton was down 8 per cent on visits, and 9 per cent on book issues.

The number of books issued at Blenheim Library had dropped from 517,833 in the 2008-09 financial year to 463,285 in the 2011-12 financial year, and from 76,217 to 67,770 at Picton Library over the same time, he said.

However, the amount of information provided electronically had increased. The number of sessions recorded electronically through the libraries' online databases showed that in 2010-11, 3958 sessions were made to Ancestry. com, 9842 to PressDisplay, and 69,630 page views of the libraries website. In 2011-12, those visits were up to 50,917, 17,592 and 106,369, respectively.

"Libraries are being used in different ways."

E-books and downloadable audio were growth areas for the libraries, and it was great to be able to offer those services in Marlborough, he said.

People were "time-strapped".

"They don't have the time to read books they previously would have," he said.

"People are using online reserves services to order books they want to read, they come in and get them when they're here. The days of browsing the shelves much reduced on what it was."

The Marlborough Express