The majority use the library for other things than borrowing books

Oslo Public LibraryOslo.Young woman borrows books at Oslo Public Library.Photo: Thomas Brun / NTB scanpix

Well over half of those who use the main libraries in major cities, are there to do other things than to borrow or return books and other documents or materials.

42 percent are there to borrow or return books or other things, while 58 percent use it for other activities, according to a survey of library use which was presented at the National Library on  Thursday . A steadily increasing number of people are using the library as a place of study or are just hanging out there. It has also become somewhat more common to spend time with other people at the library.
– Taken together, the developments indicate that the main libraries to an even greater extent than in 2007,  both are used as an arena for learning and social meeting place, the report said.

More time at the library
The users of the main libraries spend are there for longer periods of time in 2015 than they were in 2007. The average visit lasts 47 minutes in 2015, compared with 35 minutes in 2007. Users are longer at the main library than at the branches. An average visit at main libraries lasts 50 minutes, compared to 37 minutes at the branches.
The increase in the length of the visits is partly explained by the libraries in 2015 getting more visitors who are studying or working than in 2007. That number has increased from 11 to 21 percent, and this is a group of users that often visits libraries.

The largest increase in the length of visits is at the main library in Bergen, where the average visit now lasts for 56 minutes, a doubling from 2007.
– The library has got an annex, but we have also tried to adjust it to the needs of those who want to use the library as a meeting place by removing 150,000 books and inserting 300 chairs at the main library and branches,  Head of Bergen Library, Leikny Haga Indergaard , who also heads the group that made the study, says.
She describes the main findings of the survey as interesting but not particularly surprising.
– The survey reflects much of what I have observed in my own library, she says.
Indergaard believes the survey is important not least in order to show the politicians that are responsible for funding,that library use is about more than the amount of books and other documents and materials at the library that the users borrow.

Other language backgrounds
The figures also show that 26 percent of users of the main libraries and 23 percent of branch users have language backgrounds other than Norwegian. A total of 16 percent of visitors at the main libraries have a non-Western language background, while 10 percent speak other Western languages than Norwegian at home. Among the users of the branches the  equivalent amount is at  15 and 8 percent. respectively
Approximately six out of ten of the visitors of the libraries are women. At the main libraries there is a preponderance of users aged 19-45 years, 54 per cent, while  there are very many users over 45 years at the branches, 46 percent.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today