The “2019 Annual Report on Reading Atmosphere and Reading Engagement in Taiwan” is released on March 1. It analyzes the public’s reading engagement and readinginterests in 2019, as well as the most borrowed books frompublic libraries. Using library operation statistics analysis was done onpublic reading ability, and cities with outstanding performances were commended.
The public’s loveof going to public libraries did not decrease in 2019. The public responded very favorably to library services, with eachreading engagement metric seeing a large increase. The number of patrons using public libraries throughout the island surpassed 100 million for the first time. The number of patrons borrowing books increased to 22.95 million. Atotal of 81.3 million volumes were checked out during the year. All of these are higher than 2018 (persons visiting libraries increased 22.83 million, a 24.82% increase; persons borrowing books increased 1.28 million, a 5.9% increase; number of books borrowed increased 3.39 million volumes, a 4.35% increase). It also showed the reading power of the digital era in terms of e-reading;e-books borrowed increased 810,000 volumes, a 46.55% increase. This was the highest increase ofany metric. These show the amazing results of efforts by the Ministry of Education and public libraries to promote foundational reading habits among the public.
In looking at overall reading interests in 2019, Works related tolanguage and literature continue to be a favorite of the public. In terms ofbooks borrowed, top picks for this year are no longer limited to kung fu novels, butalso include other topics, such as spiritual growth and historical books. This diversification in reading tastes is a welcome development.
In terms of reading engagement, “Cities with Outstanding Overall Reading Engagement” saw TaipeiCity, Miaoli County, and Taitung County topping their respective categories; “Citieswith Stark Improvement in Reading Engagement” included Taoyuan City, YunlinCounty, and Kinmen County in their respective categories. Of 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. Sanwanhas held this honor for the last 6 consecutive years. The people of Kaohsiung Citygo to libraries the most, with each citizen visiting an average of 9.76 times. Nearly80% of people in Taipei have library cards, the highest percentage in Taiwan. The people of Juguang Township in Lienchiang County own, on average, 21.96 books, the highest in the country.
Minister of Education Wen-Chung Pan stated, the Ministry of Education released the information on public reading ability and reading interest in Taiwan for 2019, as well as the most borrowed books in publiclibraries nationally. These analyzed the public’s reading ability and commended top performing and top improving cities in the various categories. These results show the efforts and achievements over a long period of reading promotion by the government. To continue fostering and cultivating the public’s love of reading, the government will continue to invite city and county libraries to recommend persons who actively participate in library reading events and who are passionate about reading. The purpose is to enable these people to share good books they have read and communicate the happiness and emotional catharsis ofreading. These can then be used as a benchmark for the public. They will also encourage the public to become a society of active readers. In the future, the Ministry of Education will continue to support resources needed for innovative libraryservices and sustainable development, strengthen libraries in improving their service quality and power, and continue to cooperate hand-in-hand with city andcounty libraries. Together we will stride forward to promote the development oflibraries in Taiwan, improve public reading literacy, and establish a society focused on life-long learning, thus cultivating Taiwan’s soft power.