Major increase in the borrowing of digital materials in Helmet libraries

The online services of the Helmet libraries had 15.9 million visits in a year 2020. The previous year, there were 12.9 million online visits.

The borrowing of digital magazines increased by 154%

When the libraries of the Metropolitan Area were closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of the digital materials exploded. People learned to read magazines online and books on a screen.

The use of remotely accessible digital magazines increased by tremendous 154 per cent from 2019 to 2020, while the use of electronic audio books increased by 41 per cent and that of e-books increased by 20 per cent.

Reading rooms were closed, but digital newspapers and magazines opened

For the first time, libraries’ newspapers could be read at home as Helsingin Sanomat, Turun Sanomat and Maaseudun Tulevaisuus were made accessible via the library card for three months. This inspired many to start reading digital newspapers if they had not done so already.

After the libraries re-opened in July, the demand for e-books returned to its ordinary level, but the popularity of digital magazines remained at a high level. Many customers have only recently noticed that the online services of Helmet libraries include the latest issues of more than 60 Finnish periodicals.

More items borrowed per visit

In Helsinki, visits to libraries decreased by 42 per cent since the libraries were closed due to the difficult COVID-19 situation on 16 March and re-opened gradually from 8 May onwards. Longer visits to the libraries in the Metropolitan Area were only made possible from June onwards. In December, the services were restricted again, and they only included quick pick-up of reserved materials. 

Despite all this, Helsinki libraries were visited 5.2 million times last year. The previous year, there were 9 million visits, but the libraries were also open 20 per cent longer.
Even though the library visits in Helsinki were reduced by 42 per cent, the borrowing volumes only decreased by 23 per cent. In Helsinki, there were 7.2 million loans last year, and 9.4 million in 2019. 

Same trends everywhere

The figures are similar for all Helmet libraries: there were far fewer visits than normally, but people borrowed more items per visit. 

Physical visits to Espoo libraries decreased by 39%, but borrowing volumes decreased only by 25%. In Vantaa, visits to libraries decreased by 41% and borrowing volumes decreased by 26%. In Kauniainen, visits decreased by 24% and borrowing volumes decreased by 13%.

Libraries were visited 2.8 million times in Espoo, 1.3 million times in Vantaa and 101,000 times in Kauniainen. Items were borrowed 3.2 million times in Espoo, 1.9 million times in Vantaa and 212,000 times in Kauniainen in 2020. 

Photo: Pexels