Taipei topped a recent survey of the quality of the nation’s public libraries and library usage, with the city’s residents borrowing more books than any other city or county, according to the Chinese-language Global Views Monthly.
Following Taipei were Penghu, Miaoli, Hualien, Kinmen and Nantou counties, the magazine said in a statement on Tuesday annoucing its “reading competitiveness” survey.
Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan — two of the country’s five special municipalities, along with Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Greater Taichung — finished seventh and 10th respectively.
The magazine surveyed 21 cities and counties last year based on 11 criteria, including the average number of books borrowed from libraries per person, the average number of people served per library and library accessibility.
It also looked at factors such as per capita spending by libraries to buy books and the size and variety of an area’s library collection.
Taipei ranked at the top in five of the 11 indices, with Taipei residents borrowing more books from libraries — an average of 4.32 books per resident — than elsewhere, and the city’s libraries receiving the highest score (75.57) for their collections.
Taipei’s libraries also spent the most per resident at NT$39.41, and it had the lowest ratio of 8,156 residents per librarian.
Penghu placed second in terms of the number of books borrowed, with residents taking out an average of 2.58 books last year.
The magazine said that book borrowing was still far less common throughout the country than in other cities around the world, such as in Vancouver and Helsinki, where people on average borrowed 16.03 titles and 15.92 titles respectively last year.
‧ Taipei City
‧ Penghu County
‧ Miaoli County
‧ Hualien County
‧ Kinmen County
source: Global Views Monthly
The survey also looked at the number of books that were available at local public libraries per resident. The survey showed that Penghu residents had access to 4.37 titles per person last year, followed by residents of Greater Taitung, who had access to 2.41 titles on average last year.
The magazine said that compared with the special municipalities, the high scores earned by Penghu and less urban areas showed that reading can be encouraged if local governments are willing to dedicate resources to improving libraries.
For the survey, the magazine also polled 4,293 parents with children aged 15 or under in 21 cities and counties from July 10 to 27 this year. It had a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.