Bookworms big on borrowing from Lake Macquarie libraries

Lake Macquarie residents proved their lending power by borrowing almost one million books and other items in the past 12 months, according to figures released by Lake Macquarie City Council.

Almost 80,000 people across the city were members of Lake Mac Libraries by the end of 2019, gaining access to more than 600,000 loan items across 10 branches and the Rover mobile service.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Events Jacqui Hemsley said that while the overall number of loans dropped slightly in line with global public library trends, other services enjoyed substantial growth.

"We've seen a significant rise in the number of digital loans over the past 12 months, which is fantastic and reflects the growing popularity of reading on devices like the Kindle," Ms Hemsley said.

"There has also been consistently strong uptake of our kids' programs and school holiday activities. This really demonstrates the importance of diversifying the services Lake Mac Libraries provide."

A competition aiming to bring even more people through the doors in January is offering weekly family Lake Macquarie Cruises passes and book packs for anyone borrowing items before 26 January.

"We want as many people as possible to discover - or rediscover - the joy of libraries," Ms Hemsley said.

The Lake Mac Libraries service will celebrate its 70th birthday this year, with the move towards digitising, diversifying and activating spaces a far cry from the early days of books and silent reading areas.