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Nearly 120,000 new users in Berlin libraries


Berlin's public libraries experienced a significant increase in users last year.

"The number of library cards has risen very sharply," Anna Jacobi, spokesperson for the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Around 118,000 new registrations were registered in 2023, with a total of 439,000 valid user cards. In the pre-pandemic year 2019, the number of cards was around 418,000. "We believe that the number of cards has risen sharply once again due to the digital services," said Jacobi. You can apply for a library card digitally at home and use many services without having to go to a library.

Growth due to youth culture card

The issue of the youth culture card to 18 to 23-year-old Berliners has probably also contributed to the growth. The cards with a credit of 50 euros for cultural activities could be collected from libraries last year. "Many people visited a library for the first time in a long time, were amazed at what was on offer and rediscovered libraries as a place to learn and work," according to the as yet unpublished 2023 annual report on public libraries.

Number of digital loans on the rise

Whether books, daily newspapers, magazines or films - many media can now be read or streamed on screen. Berliners are using this service more and more. The number of digital loans rose from around 1.5 million in 2018 to around 4.1 million in 2023. During this period, the number of physical media loans fell from around 22.1 million to around 18.1 million. However, Anna Jacobi said that there was no need to worry about the libraries' stock. "The libraries are extremely popular places. Our libraries are all full. People like to work and read on site, especially young people," she said. Libraries are strong meeting places. "Libraries are not just about books, they are about people," said the spokesperson.

Broader range of offers

The nature of the events has also changed in recent years. In addition to traditional readings, there are now many other offers on the program, such as dance and sewing courses. Digital education courses are also popular. "We firmly believe that knowledge is not only to be found in the media, but also in people's heads. That's why the exchange of knowledge is such an important component of libraries," says Jacobi.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 27 May 2024
Last updated: 27 May 2024

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