March 27, 2015
By: David Burke, CBC News
Attendance is up at libraries across the country as people borrow more books and take advantage of the specialty programs on offer.
And that increase can be seen throughout Cape Breton and Victoria counties, where about 255,000 people visited libraries in 2014, an increase of 5,000 from the year prior.
Regional librarian Faye MacDougall says there's several reasons for the increased traffic.
"I think we have made efforts to try and raise awareness about our services and about the types of programs that are taking place in the library," MacDougall says.
"As well as over the years we have increased the number of programs that we offer so people are probably finding things that appeal to them."
Programs such as seniors book clubs, craft groups and public meetings brought in more than 20,000 people in 2014.
"The library is really a social place, it's somewhere where you can come, often you'll see people, meet people that they know and they'll have a little conversation," MacDougall says.
"Some people come in to read because they like being somewhere where there are other people around."
Library usage continues to rise across Canada, according to Valoree McKay, the president of the Canadian Library Association.
"Certainly people crave other people, whether we recognize it or not. It's just a fact of human nature," she says. "But it's also providing screen access to people who might not be able to have it at home for whatever reason."
McKay says libraries across the country constantly adapt to make sure they stay relevant to their communities. That includes lending out e-books, using the library as a community space and teaching people how to better use computers.
"Libraries have always been a cornerstone of any community and they continue to remain a cornerstone of those communities and they're all striving to ensure that they're meeting that community need. That's never going to change."