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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Borrowing Without Walls

The debate around libraries seems to be moving on bit from just being about buildings at the expense of books, but I still don't get a sense that people realise how library services are now being accessed outside the actual buildings. Using the book issue figures up to the end of February, we can see that almost one in four issues by Brent library services does not involve stepping inside a building at all.

Online renewals account for 11.6% of total book issues.  The outreach service _ that brings books to all kinds of other events and institutions _ accounts for a further 6.3%.  Phone renewals make up a further 2.7%, and our home delivery service for severely disabled people a further 2.6%.  Whilst ebook lending gets lots of hype, it actually accounts for only 0.5% of loans.  Of course, it is important that libraries engage with ebooks as they become the dominant form of book provision, but we also need to recognise that library services outside Council owned buildings is now part of the conventional model.

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