Reports 2015/32

Survey of library use 2015

This publication is in Norwegian only.

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This report presents the main results of a nationwide survey of the population’s use of libraries in 2015. Where relevant, the findings are compared with previous surveys of library use in 1998 and 2005.

Four out of ten people visited a public library last year, compared with about five in ten in 2005. The reduction is particularly significant for the under 45s, and especially for the 16-24 age group where almost one in four fewer than in 2005 reported visiting a public library in the last 12 months. For the population as a whole, neither immigrant background or household income appear to have any bearing on library use.

As the number of visitors to libraries has decreased, the number using the libraries’ online services (either at the library or elsewhere) has increased. Services accessed at other locations have seen a particular growth, as has use by the under 45s.

There is a marked decrease in the traditional use of libraries for all groups. Furthermore, there is a growing tendency in the use of libraries for other activities: a third report seeing an exhibition at a public library last year, while one in four attended meetings, performances, courses, debates and similar organised by the library. There has been a particular growth in those aged 45 and older.

Library users seem to be at least as satisfied with the various library services now as before. Local libraries are preferable to larger more central libraries. This is particularly the case for women and the most elderly group in the sample.

Although the share of library users is falling in the general population, two thirds of children and young people used libraries in the last 12 months. There is little difference between girls and boys' library use, but the parents’ use of libraries has an influence on the children’s use.

Fewer students use public libraries today than ten years ago. Half of students still use public libraries and female students take advantage of the offer to a much larger degree than their male counterparts. Students use public library online services to a greater extent than the general population, but the increase from 2005 is not as high as for the general population.

Students also use public libraries in a different way to the general population. Most activities have seen a reduction in use. The exceptions are doing homework, studying and group work, as well as meetings and performances etc., which have increased.

Most students still use academic and research libraries, however visitor frequency has fallen somewhat in the last 10 years. Use is particularly high among the youngest full-time students and those taught at the institution. Students use academic and research libraries primarily to access syllabus and supplementary material.

Library users use other cultural institutions, such as concerts and museums, to a greater extent than others. We also find that reading activities related to the reading of books, magazines, journals, and not least reading to children, are more popular among library users than others, while other media habits, such as watching TV, reading newspapers and using the Internet, are the same as for the general population.

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