The total of book loans increased by 12.2% (111,370), standing at 1,022,346 in 2018, compared to the previous year as reported by Malta Libraries, according to the latest figures issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO). The increase in book loans was registered across all areas.
The largest share of the increase was registered by public libraries in the Western district, which had a year-on-year increase of 36.6%.
The public libraries of Ħad-Dingli, Ħ’Attard, and Mtarfa reported the main growths at the rates of 74.3%, 52%, and 48.3%, respectively while the public libraries of Senglea, Ta’ Kerċem and Kalkara registered the highest drops in book loans with 48.2%, 27.9%, and 18.4%, respectively.
In addition, book acquisitions dropped by 20.9% (36,369) when compared to 2017. Book donations and book purchases to public libraries were also down by 28.5% and 11.9%, respectively. Nevertheless, the acquisition of ebooks grew.
The number of new members in public libraries was up by 22.4% to 6,266, chiefly boosted by people under the age of 18, which age group was represented by 65.5%.
Furthermore, the number of books and periodicals received by the National Library of Malta under legal deposit increased by 29.9% over the previous year. The share of periodicals accounted for 70.9% of these deposits.
Both imports and exports of printed book material and periodicals declined during 2018 and stood at €12 and €4.7m, respectively.
In 2018, The value of imports went down by 9.8% while exports fell by 13.5%. Moreover, the private final consumption expenditure on printed material reported a decrease of 0.1 percentage point.
The complete report with charts and graphs is available to download at the NSO website.