The “2019 Annual Report on Reading Atmosphere and Reading Engagement in Taiwan” is Announced
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced the “2019 Annual Report on Reading Atmosphere and Reading Engagement in Taiwan”. This report aims to analyze the public’s reading engagement and reading interests in 2019, as well as identify the books most often borrowed from public libraries. Utilizing library operation statistics, this analysis was carried out on public reading engagement, and cities with outstanding performances were commended.
The public’s enthusiasm for going to libraries continued unabated through 2019 and they responded very favorably to library services, with each reading engagement metric seeing a considerable increase. The number of visits to public libraries throughout Taiwan surpassed 100 million for the first time, the number of patrons borrowing books increased to 22.95 million, and a total of 81.3 million volumes were borrowed during the year. All of these numbers were higher than the number for 2018 (people visiting libraries increased by 22.83 million, a 24.82% increase; people borrowing books increased by 1.28 million, a 5.9% increase; number of books borrowed increased by 3.39 million volumes, a 4.35% increase). This survey also highlighted the reading engagement in the digital era in terms of e-reading; e-books borrowed increased by 810,000 volumes, a 46.55% increase; this was the highest increase of any metric. These figures demonstrate that the MOE and public libraries have made great efforts to promote the reading atmosphere of the whole population and to cultivate the fundamental reading habits among the public.
In looking at overall reading interests in 2019, language and literature works continue to be loved by the public. It can be seen from the book borrowing list that readers' favorite books of the year are no longer limited to martial arts novels; various other themes such as spiritual growth and history books are also popular among the public, this diversification in reading topics is a welcome development.
In terms of reading engagement, “Cities with Outstanding Overall Reading Engagement” saw Taipei City, Miaoli County, and Taitung County topping their respective categories; “Cities with Greatest Improvement in Reading Engagement” included Taoyuan City, Yunlin County, and Kinmen County in their respective categories; among these, Kinmen County saw the greatest percentage of growth and was crowned 1st place in all of Taiwan. In addition,“Cities with Outstanding Reading Engagement in Each Category” showed that the people in Sanwan Township, Miaoli County were the most active borrowers of library books, with each person borrowing on average 17.64 volumes. Sanwan has held this honor for the last 6 consecutive years. The people of Kaohsiung City go to libraries the most, with each citizen visiting an average of 9.76 times. Nearly 80% of people in Taipei have library cards, which is the highest percentage in Taiwan. Finally, the people of Juguang Township in Lienchiang County own the most books; the average is 21.96 volumes per person which is the highest in Taiwan.
The MOE announced the information on public reading engagement and reading interest in Taiwan for 2019, as well as the most borrowed books in public libraries nationally. The report also analyzed the public’s reading engagement and commended the top performing and the top improving cities based on multiple indicators, thereby helping to highlight the government’s long-term efforts and achievements in reading promotion. In order to continuously cultivate and foster an atmosphere of “loving to read” for the public, the government will continue to invite city and county libraries to recommend people who actively participate in library reading events and who are passionate about reading. The purpose of this is to enable those people to share the good books they have read before and to express happiness and warm feelings of reading that can act as a benchmark for encouraging the public to learn more and build a society of active readers. In the future, the MOE will continue to: support all kinds of resources needed for innovative library services and sustainable development, strengthen libraries to improve the quality and energy of library services, continue to cooperate hand-in-hand with city and county libraries to promote the development of public libraries in Taiwan, and move forward together with the goal of enhancing the reading literacy of the public, thus building a life-long learning society and strengthening the country's soft power.