Sunday, May 19, 2013
Library Use Increases Despite Technological Age
Ebooks and audio downloads are becoming a large part of Anchorage’s reading habit, but readers aren't abandoning traditional paper books.
In the age of technology, more people are visiting public libraries than ever before.
According to Anchorage Public Library development director Clare Stockert, more than 180,000 Anchorage residents had a library card in 2010 alone.
It’s a number that has grown steadily since 2006, and those cardholders are reading more, too.
"It's a huge issue because population has gone up, and circulation has gone up, and the budget has increasingly gone down,” said Lauren Heyano, a teen volunteer at the Z.J. Loussac Public Library. “I hear that echoed a lot."
But even with a flat $7.4 million budget in 2010, the library system circulated more than 1.6 million books. At roughly $4 per book, it also averages nearly nine books per year for every cardholder in Anchorage.
"You still see a lot of people checking out books, because books will never go out of style,” Heyano said.
But there’s one number Stockert said isn’t included in the annual circulation counts: Ebooks and audio downloads, which are “becoming a large part” of Anchorage’s reading habit.
"You think about the new teen center,” Heyano said of the library’s recently opened “teen underground” project. “There’s tons of technology in that room that's always getting used."
While technology is becoming an increasingly larger part of the library’s offerings, there’s one thing that will never change. Whether it’s paperback or hard cover, the library will continue to bind readers with books.