Could this mean the end of our libraries? 104



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According to a new report, books are on the way out – or not, as the case may be. The latest Australian Public Libraries Statistical Report shows that the paper versions of books are gathering dust on the shelves, as fewer people choose to take them home.

Fairfax Media reports that, while public spending on the country’s 1530 public libraries has grown from $914 million in 2009 to $1.04 billion, we are borrowing fewer books than ever.

Instead, more and more of us are signing up and downloading e-books from our local library.

The Sunshine State leads the way in spending on digital material, followed by the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

And libraries have cottoned on to the fact that they are no longer simply a repository for books – 97 per cent of libraries now have internet terminals available to the public, equating to five for every 10,000 people.

Not only that, but more and more libraries are offering free training in how to download ebooks and other forms of digital media, such as talking books and music. Staff are really patient, too, so you are not made to feel dumb if you don’t grasp it the first time you are shown it.

And what’s not to like about the new trend? No more driving around looking for parking spaces. No more carting heavy bags of books. No more being fined or warned or fined because you forget to take back a book by its due date.

The only real loss is the social aspect of going to the library and chatting to the librarian about the latest releases, which can be a highlight of the week for some people, particularly retirees or those not working.

But even this is being tackled with library book clubs and Facebook book clubs like Starts at 60’s where you can “talk” about the latest best seller.

Oh, and of course there’s THAT downside – it’s not as pleasant taking an iPad into the loo! There’s something not quite right about sitting on the loo and scrolling through pages on the screen, whereas picking up a magazine and flicking through paper pages seems quite acceptable.

Are you a library user? Have you made the swap to digital books, and if so how have you found it?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. No they are not, our libraries are a good place for the locals to meet, even better with a coffee shop in them, leave them alone!!!!!!

  2. They have been on their way out since Computers invented!! What a lot of rubbish. People do go on with a lot of tosh!!

  3. Libraries are a great place for people, especially older ones, to meet, chat and read. They make a lot of difference to these people.

  4. as for myself even though i am a young 74 i use our local libraries on regular basis only problem i find is making a selection from bottom shelf

    2 REPLY
    • Yes Kevin, I have to agree with you. I’m sure there are some great books on the unreachable bottom shelf. I’m scared to get down that low because someone will have to come and help me up :-/

    • appears as though we may be members of the same club Marjorie and a little embarrasing crawling along on ones knees loking for something of intrest

  5. My library is an increadably vibrant place.Always full, from littles in story groups, to speakers on many subject.No way are libraries on their way out

  6. Actually I have gone back to reading print novels. Can’t explain why but it seems to make reading a touch more pleasureable. Still buy magazines on my iPad.

    2 REPLY
    • We are actually working our way back through our paperbacks as well and I ltaove reading paperbacks in bed rather than an ebook. I also have lots of beautiful books for reference so I am sad that books are going out of style. YET we still like to buy paperbacks. dont need batteries and don’t shut down if low on memory right in the middle of an exciting part of a chapter which used to happen to me all the time.

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