SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — Frequent shutdowns of public libraries following the coronavirus outbreak led to a drop in the number of visitors last year.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korean Library Association reported that an average of 76,431 people visited each public library last year, which was 69.5 percent lower than the year before (250,804 visitors).
The number of books borrowed stood at 100,449, down by 14.8 percent from the previous year (117,962 books).
In contrast, the average number of books borrowed each day throughout all public libraries stood at 629,553 books, which was 38 percent more than in 2019 (454,997 books).
The average number of books borrowed each day at a single public library stood at 537 books, up by 34 percent since the previous year (401 books).
The rising number of daily borrowed books is most likely due to the expansion of contactless book-borrowing services including drive-through checkouts where visitors can pick up borrowed books from library parking lots.
The unmanned book borrowing stations (smart libraries) available 24 hours at subway stations and other public locations were used more than 1.2 million times last year, up by more than 60 percent since the previous year (776,850).
Image Credit: Yonhap / firstname.lastname@example.org