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Taipei tops Taiwan library survey

2012/08/29 17:29:49

Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) Taipei topped Taiwan's cities and counties in a survey on the quality of the country's public libraries and library usage, with the city's residents borrowing more books than anywhere else in Taiwan, according to the survey's results released Tuesday.

Following behind Taipei was the outlying Penghu County, Miaoli County, Hualien County, the outlying Kinmen County, and Nantou County, the Chinese-language Global Views Monthly said in a statement on its "reading competitiveness" survey.

Kaohsiung and Tainan -- two of the country's five major municipalities, along with Taipei, New Taipei and Taichung -- finished seventh and 10th respectively.

The survey judged 21 cities and counties for 2011 based on 11 criteria, including the average number of books borrowed from libraries per person, the average number of people served per library, and library accessibility.

It also looked at factors such as per capita spending by libraries to buy books and the size and variety of an area's library collection.

The nation's capital was ranked at the top in five of the 11 indexes, with Taipei residents borrowing more books from libraries (4.32 in 2011) than elsewhere, and the city's libraries receiving the highest score (75.57) for their collections.

Taipei's libraries also spent the most per resident at NT$39.41 (US$1.31), and it had the lowest ratio of 8,156 residents per librarian.

Penghu placed second in terms of the number of books borrowed, where residents took out an average of 2.58 books last year.

The magazine noted that book borrowing was still far less common throughout Taiwan than in other cities around the world, such as in Vancouver and Helsinki, where people borrowed 16.03 titles and 15.92 titles on average, respectively, last year.

The survey also looked at the number of books that were available at local public libraries per resident.

The survey's results showed that Penghu residents had access to 4.37 titles per person last year, followed by residents of Taitung County, who had access to 2.41 titles in 2011 on average.

The magazine said that compared with the big special municipalities, the superior scores earned by Penghu and less urban areas showed that reading can be encouraged if government leaders are willing to dedicate resources to improving libraries.

The survey was conducted July 10-27 among 4,293 parents with children aged 15 or under in 21 cities and counties in Taiwan. It had a margin of error of plus or minus of 5.7 percentage points.

(By Sabine Cheng and Scully Hsiao)