Libraries take big hit from 2020 lockdowns


Last year’s lockdowns appear to have dealt a hard blow to libraries, with the biannual survey of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showing traffic nosedive by 67%, from 5 million visitors in 2018 to 1.7 million in 2020. Lending also contracted 52.6%, with the number of books checked out dropping from around 3.8 million in 2018 to 1.8 million last year. On the upside, libraries’ electronic databases fared better, with users rising 17% to 3.5 million in 2020 from 3.1 million a year earlier. This also points to the strides made by libraries in their online content, given that in 2010-14, users ranged from 640,000 to 950,000. ELSTAT’s survey was published on Wednesday. [Nikos Karanikolas/National Library of Greece]