Visitor numbers to Dunedin's public libraries are down 8.1%
this year compared with the corresponding period last year, a
loss the library services manager attributes to the internet.
There were 53,830 fewer physical visits to city libraries
between July 1 last year and January 31 than in the
corresponding period a year ago.
Issues were down 4.9%, and reference inquiries down 2.8%.
The main reason for the drop, library services manager Bernie
Hawke said, was people increasingly accessed books, magazines
or information online.
Mr Hawke said city libraries were progressively doing more
online, for example more databases were available online now,
and, so far, 1500 e-books were available from the libraries
to download on to e-readers other than Kindles, which could
only read e-books sourced from Amazon.
The library had purchased some e-books, but that area of its
service was still in its infancy, largely because of the
issues around creating a system for libraries that dealt with
technicalities around copyright, formats, platforms, and the
different requirements of publishers.
The same issues were affecting every library in New Zealand,
and moves were afoot at a national level to identify a usable
business model for libraries for online loaning.
The library was responding to the decrease in visits and
loans by working on alternative services to attract more
people, such as free internet, children's programmes, hosting
community events - which attracted about 40,000 people to
libraries across the city last year - and more online
The library still expected about 1 million people through
Dunedin library doors this year, which made them the most
heavily used public facilities in the city, Mr Hawke said.