Public libraries loaned out over one million books since 2015

The books were borrowed by some 50,000 people over the past three years, according to statistics given out in Parliament

Over 1 million books have been loaned out Malta's public libraries since 2015 (File Photo)
Over 1 million books have been loaned out Malta's public libraries since 2015 (File Photo)

Over one million books were borrowed from public libraries since 2015 by 52,781 people, statistics tabled in parliament on Tuesday show.

The statistics were tabled by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo who was responding to a parliamentary question by Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. Zrinzo Azzopardi asked for a breakdown of the number of books loaned out by public libraries by age bracket, as well as the number of people registered to borrow books.  

Bartolo said that a total of 138,654 people were registered with public libraries, including 50,219 children below the age of 12, 16,225 individuals aged between 13 and 17, and 72,210 adults aged 18 and over.

Despite there being almost 140,000 individuals registered to borrow books, only 52,731 actually did so.

27,618 adults borrowed 340,666 books, compared to 643,708 borrowed by 19,810 children aged below the age of 12 and 27,283 borrowed by 5,303 between the age of 13 and 17.

The minister added that the number of “talking books” loaned out in 2018 amounted to 2,489, while the number of ebooks loaned out reached 8,200.

Futhermore, Bartolo said a number of initiatives were being taken to increase the number of people opting to borrow books including a collaboration with the National Agency for Literacy aimed at setting up reading areas for children.

The ministry, he said, was also continuing to invest in collections of comic books and graphic comics, as well as dyslexic friendly books. He said efforts were underway to upgrade existing public libraries and to equip them with services such as free WIFI.

Finally, Bartolo said the ministry had increased the number of books that children can borrow from six to eight, was providing support to librarians for them to be better able to offer a good service to the community while also investing in activities at libraries.

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