4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Aug 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/08/2005   
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A survey of public libraries conducted by the ABS shows how extensively the collections are used by the Australian population as sources of information and recreation.

There were 105 million visits to the National Library of Australia (NLA) and state and local government libraries in the year to 30 June 2004. Of these visits, some 99.6 million were made to local government libraries, resulting in loans of 174.9 million books and other materials. This represented 5 visits per head of population for the year, and an average of 1.8 loans per visit.

At the end of June 2004, local government libraries had 4,638 Internet workstations available for public use - an increase of 64% since June 2000, when the survey was last conducted. This represented an average of three Internet workstations per local government library location (up from 1.9 in June 2000).

Local government libraries had total holdings of 41.5 million books and other library materials, of which 39 million items were available as lending stock, and each item was borrowed on average four times in the year. In addition to library stock, local government libraries also held 1.2 million heritage items at the end of June 2004.

The NLA and eight state and territory libraries held 11.3 million library items and a further 7.6 million heritage items at the end of June 2004. There were five million visits to the NLA, state and territory libraries in 2003-04.

A total of 10,606 people were employed at local government libraries at the end of June 2004, and a further 6,315 volunteers worked an average of nine hours each for the month. The NLA, state and territory libraries employed 1,865 people and utilised the services of 416 volunteers, who worked an average of eight hours each for the month.

Further information is available in Public Libraries, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8561.0).