8561.0 - Public Libraries, Australia, 2003-04  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2005   
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April 29, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
On average Australians visited public libraries 5 times in a year

Australians visited public libraries an average of five times a year during 2003-04, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The 105 million visitors to public libraries resulted in a 5% increase on the number of times Australians visited a public library in 1999-2000, and is similar to the increase in Australia's population over the same period.

South Australian's visited their local government libraries more often than any other state or territory averaging 7.6 visits per head of population, followed by the Northern Territory (5.8 visits) and the Australian Capital Territory (5.6 visits). New South Wales had the lowest average with 4.5 visits.

Across the 1,700 public library locations in Australia, visitors were attracted to the 53 million items of books and materials held in these libraries, of which almost three-quarters (74%) were available for public lending. Local government libraries loaned a total of 175 million books and other library materials, averaging 1.8 loans per visit.

The number of archival holdings held by the national and state libraries and archive organisations totalled 666,000 metres at the end of June 2004, or about the distance between Melbourne and Canberra.

Local government libraries have embraced technology with most (81%) having an Internet web presence at the end of June 2004, up from 47% at the end of June 2000. Web access to a library's catalogue also increased, rising from 15% of all local government libraries in June 2000 to 42% in June 2004.

At the end of June 2004 there were 13,300 people working in public libraries and archives. The majority of employees were women, accounting for 82% of all staff. There were also 6,900 volunteer workers during the month of June 2004 who worked 60,900 hours or an average of 9 hours per volunteer.

During 2003-04, libraries and archives received a total of $950 million in income. Government funding was the main source of income accounting for 93% of all income.

Further information can be found in Public Libraries, Australia 2003-04 (cat. no. 8561.0).