According to a report in the Toronto Star, the Toronto Public Library had its best year ever last year in terms of patron usage.
Library users checked out more than 31 million items (books, magazines, DVDs and other materials), 5 per cent more than the year before. Actual visits to the library’s 99 branches jumped by 8.5 per cent, to 17.5 million.
Library officials credited several factors, including the recession, for the increases. As readers turned to borrowing books rather than buying, the library system increased resources for job seekers and equipped all branches with free wireless Internet. Staff also fostered a “more welcoming environment,” permitting patrons to eat and drink.
The article goes on to list some of the most frequently borrowed titles, which include, of course, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and Stephenie Meyer’s Eclipse, but also Austin Clarke’s More and Glen Downie’s poetry collection Loyalty Management, both of which were selections for the TPL’s One Book reading program.