Latest news release by the National Statistics Office (NSO) shows that administrative data provided by Malta Libraries revealed that, in 2019, total book loans stood at 1,045,869, an increase of 23,523 or 2.3 per cent over the preceding year. Out of this sum, 14,001 or 1.3 per cent of book loans were in the form of eBooks.
In 2019, book acquisitions by public libraries amounted to 47,754, up by 31.3 per cent when compared to the preceding year. Book donations to and purchases by public libraries increased by 39.7 and 17.4 per cent respectively. On the other hand, the acquisition of eBooks decreased by 2.4 per cent when compared to 2018.
New members of public libraries, in 2019, stood at 6,071, down by 3.1 per cent when compared to new members for the previous year. Persons under the age of 18 made up 65.4 per cent of public libraries’ new members.
When compared to the preceding year, in 2019, the largest increase in book loans was registered by public libraries in the South Eastern district. In total, this district had a year-on-year increase of 14.3 per cent in book loans, with the main increase being registered by the public library of Qrendi. The increase was of 10,633 book loans or 80.2 per cent, over the previous year. On the other hand, the Northern district recorded the largest drop, with 18.4 per cent less book loans from 2018. In this case, the main decrease was from the public library of Mosta, which recorded a drop of 16,183 book loans, 27.5 per cent less than the previous year.
In 2019, the number of books and periodicals received by the National Library of Malta under legal deposit reached 1,579, a decrease of 9.3 per cent when compared to 2018. The share of periodicals accounted for 52.5 per cent of these deposits.
Both imports and exports of printed book material and periodicals during 2019 declined when compared to the preceding year and stood at €10.9 and €3.9 million respectively. In 2019, the value of imports declined by 11.9 per cent, while exports fell by 16.8 per cent. On the other hand, the share of money spent on printed material in the total private final consumption expenditure remained stable, when compared to the previous year.