NLB Sees Increase in Digital Library Use But Declining Loans, Singapore News & Top Stories

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Use of digital libraries increased amid the pandemic last year, but lockdowns have dropped overall loans from 40.5 million in 2019 to 29.2 million.

The number of Singapore residents using the National Library Board’s (NLB) digital channels rose 46.5% from 2019, its review report for the year 2020 noted yesterday.

Digital loans increased 26.2%, cumulative downloads of the NLB mobile app increased 36.5%, and usage of its electronic databases increased 121%.

Bibliophiles quickly returned to libraries after their reopening in July with sound management measures. The number of visits to physical libraries increased 88.9% from July to December, while total loans increased by 14.2%.

But the nearly nine million visitors to public libraries and other NLB institutions like the National Archives of Singapore last year were only a fraction of the 26.7 million in 2019.

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series continued its reign on library lending, taking four of the top five places in last year’s most borrowed physical books, led by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998).

The eBook loans were complemented by the 2018 memoir of former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama Becoming, while Teo You Yenn’s 2018 essay collection This Is What Inequality Looks Like is finished fifth, the only local title to feature in the top five of the two. Category.

Japan travel books, several of which were mapped in 2019, were notably absent from the list during a year of border closures and travel bans.

Last year, NLB launched its first book vending machine, at Choa Chu Kang Public Library, which has been closed for renovation since June 2019 and is expected to reopen later this year with digital services focused on natural landscapes and nature. biodiversity.

The distributor, which allows residents to browse and borrow a curated selection of print and electronic books and other materials, secured 14,600 loans and renewals from last July to January of this year.

NLB Managing Director Ng Cher Pong said, “We have introduced many digital offerings to facilitate learning, reading and improving skills to better serve our customers amid the disruption caused by the pandemic. “


  • 29.2 million

    Global loans last year, compared to 40.5 million in 2019.

    9 million

    Approximate number of visitors to public libraries and other National Library Board institutions last year, up from 26.7 million in 2019.

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