Long Live the Book!

by on October 31st, 2017

Libraries usually mirror national trends in how people are getting their information and entertainment and this year (FY17, ended June 30, 2017) was no different.  Overall circulation was down a little, a national trend as the economy improves and people spend more time on their devices.  The mix of what people checkout (that’s a generic checkout that includes downloads as well as borrowing physical items) continues to change.

Even with all the talk about alternative options, print is still our most popular format.  Over 50% of our 1.3 million circulations last year was print — of all items checked out 24% were fiction books, 16% nonfiction books, 13% picture books and readers.

The next most popular format other than print was discs — both DVD (video) and CD (audio which includes music and spoken word).  This format accounts for 35% of all checkouts.

Use of downloadable books and magazines (both to be read on a device and audio) is continuing to grow, but is only 9% of all circulation.  Use of e-books has leveled off, only up 2% last year, but downloadable audio books use is seeing more growth (24% increase last year), probably as people replace older cars that played CDs.  E-magazine use is up 12%.

We look at these trends to know where to spend more or less money from our collection dollars.  Trends certainly come and go — I remember when the Library had slides and 8mm film–, but the print book has always been the most desired and used.  Never fear, the book is not dead.

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