Public libraries last year welcomed 86.22 million visitors, 9.92 million (13 percent) more than in 2016, the National Central Library said on Friday.
Members borrowed 74.93 million books, 3.25 million (4.53 percent) more than in 2016, it said, adding that Taiwanese still read martial arts fiction and fantasy the most.
Central library data showed that the top three most borrowed titles last year were all written by martial arts novelist Huang Yi (黃易).
In the General category, the most borrowed book was Stanley Yen’s (嚴長壽) Finding Yourself on the World Map (在世界地圖上找到自己); in the Philosophy category, the most borrowed book was The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga; and in the Social Sciences category, the most borrowed book was Takanori Fujita’s Karyu Rojin (“Low-class Elderly People”), the library said.
The rankings in each category reflect the times and society’s focus, library Director-General Tseng shu-hsien (曾淑賢) said.
For example, continuous food safety problems over the past few years saw Tan Tun-tzu’s (譚敦慈) guide on food safety and kitchenware usage become the most borrowed book in the Applied Sciences category last year, Tseng said.
Meanwhile, Lin Yu-sheng’s (林育聖) NeEnergy: The Power of G-bye (每天來點負能量) was the most borrowed electronic book last year, she added.
Miaoli County’s Sanwan Township (三灣), Hsinchu County’s Baoshan Township (寶山) and Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township (員林), in descending order, last year borrowed the most books per person, the library said.
Sanwan is not a city, but its library organizes events to promote reading and is open year-round, and its average of 14.07 borrowed books per person comes close to Helsinki’s 15.57 books, the library said.
In terms of age differentials, 35 to 44-year-olds borrowed the most books, comprising 28.47 percent of total loans, followed by 45 to 54-year-olds, with 16.37 percent, the library said.
Meanwhile, 18 to 24-year-olds were responsible for only 4.11 percent of total loans, the library said, adding that this might be because young adults are no longer restricted to traditional, physical copies and digital books have changed their reading habits.
Women last year borrowed a total of 45.27 million books, 20 percent more than the 29.66 million books borrowed by men, the library said.
Men and women both enjoy books in the Language and Literature categories the most, it said.
However, women are more inclined to choose books in the Applied Sciences category, while men prefer books in the Arts category, it said.
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