Tasmanian libraries have broken through the 5 million mark, with library loans over the 2008-09 financial year up by more than 500,000 on previous years.
Premier and Minister for Education and Skills, David Bartlett, said that the outstanding result supported the fact that Tasmanians had better access to libraries, online access centres and Adult Education facilities through the Community Knowledge Network.
“Tasmanians’ use of libraries has been growing strongly in recent years,” Mr Bartlett said.
“This is a reflection of both tightening household budgets and the improved range of up-to-the minute fiction and non-fiction books, audio books, CDs, videos, DVDs and magazines that are available for loan.”
Tasmania has 46 libraries, including seven city libraries and 39 regional branch libraries as well as an online library where people can browse, book and renew items.
“Almost one in three Tasmanians have a library card and take advantage of free access to books by emerging authors as well as best-selling writers, a myriad of how-to and reference books on everything from car maintenance and crafts to sports and self-help and a wide range of books for children of all ages.”
Mr Bartlett said that in the wake of the global financial crisis, some of the more popular topics for loans include books about global warming, home energy consumption and efficiency and tips for managing money and cooking on a budget.
“As well as providing a great range of borrowing choices, libraries also provide great service with our last customer survey in 2007 showing that 91 per cent of library users reported that their expectations were met or exceeded with the materials, facilities and quality of staff assistance,” Mr Bartlett said.
Mr Bartlett said that the Government was spending $14.883 million over the next four years to establish five new Learning and Information Network Centres (LINCs).