The number of library books taken out by students at major national universities across the country last year was reduced by half compared to four years earlier due to the growing preference for e-books and lack of library access during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to data on the library book lending status of university students received by Rep. Min Hyeong-bae with the Education Committee at the National Assembly on Sunday, the average number of books loaned per student was 3.25, a 3.1 drop (48.8 percent) from 6.35 books in 2017. This figure gradually declined from 5.76 books in 2018, 5.41 books in 2019, and 3.36 in 2020 at the pandemic's peak. This year, the average student loaned 2.44 books as of the end of August.
The number of loaned library books at universities across the country is gradually declining. According to the 2021 University Library Study Analysis issued by the Ministry of Education and the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), the number of books loaned per student in 2020 was 2.3, which is only half the number of 4.6 books in 2017. “Many students opt for e-books whose contents have become increasingly diverse. Also, students prefer diverse media channels over paper books as the information can be obtained faster,” said the KERIS.
Sung-Min Park firstname.lastname@example.org