Libraries a magnet for school kids

Kyodo

The number of books checked out by elementary school children from libraries nationwide reached a record average of 26 per child in fiscal 2010, the education ministry said.

The increase from 18.8 per child in the previous survey in fiscal 2007 apparently reflects the trend of refraining from buying new publications amid the economic downturn and libraries raising the maximum number of books that can be checked out at one time. The ministry also attributed the rise to the wider availability of educational books filled with cartoons.

The number of books checked out by people as a whole, including schoolchildren, in the year to March 2011 reached a record 5.4 per person, up from 4.9 in the previous survey.

The survey found that a total of 663.6 million books were checked out from public libraries nationwide in fiscal 2010.

As of October 2011, the number of libraries across the country stood at a record 3,274, up 3.4 percent from the previous survey, and those facilities had a record 36,246 workers, up 11.3 percent from fiscal 2007.