Cornwall Public Library Continues To Grow In The Digital Age

February 03, 2012

Cornwall Public Library

By Dawn Kiddell
Chief Librarian

The biggest news in public libraries is the rise of the electronic book as a new reading format. While it is true that some e-book bestselling titles are now outselling their counterparts in print, the book industry still sells 80% of its titles in print, or hard copy, and 20% in electronic format. With the new wave of eReaders and tablet computers given as Christmas presents this year, it remains to be seen how much this will change.

If the past is any indication, formats and devices may change but the library's mission does not. Cornwall Public Library provides reading, viewing and listening materials free of charge, to fulfill the information and recreational needs of its public. In fact, the library often becomes a technological leader in the community, a place where people go to learn about, and try out, new formats and technology.

How are e-books and digital audio books impacting borrowing at the library?
E-books accounted for 1.3% of borrowing for all printed materials in 2011. Audio book downloads represented 1.4% of all audiovisual materials borrowed from the library. But these numbers are growing fast. E-book borrowing from the library increased by 98% over 2010 and audio book downloads increased by 27%. Both are expected to grow as more people acquire the new technologies for reading and listening. E-book and digital audio book formats simply add to readers' choices and the library is proud to have these formats available to lend to the public free of charge. With a Cornwall Public Library card, members can download titles from the library's website to enjoy on an e-book reader, smart phone, MP3 player or computer.

For more info on e-book services offered by the Cornwall Public Library, click here.

Overall, people are still reading more than watching or listening. Reading remains our main business, accounting for 69% of all borrowing. Movies on DVD and music on CD accounted for 31% of library materials loaned in 2011. This division between reading and watching or listening is about the same as previous years.

However, visits to the library have not decreased with the advent of the Internet and downloadable formats. In fact, library use has continued to increase steadily year over year. The number of in-person library visits is up 6% over five years ago, which represents an additional 14,123 people coming to the library in 2011 than in 2006. Borrowing has increased even more rapidly, up 13% over five years ago, which represents 35,000 more library materials going home with people.

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