It turns out that Canada’s daily print newspapers aren’t the only ones betting on a strong digital presence.
Today the Toronto Public Library (TPL), made up of 98 library branches, is launching an advertising campaign to inform people about its selection of current, popular and free e-books and e-magazines available at tpl.ca/ereads. The TPL started offering its e-content over a year ago.
A recent survey found that 48 percent of library users and 24 per cent of non-users are aware TPL offers e-books. Although awareness is low, demand is high among those who know about e-content. Last year alone, there was a 105 per cent increase in e-book usage and this has grown by another 70 per cent so far this year. In September 2013, TPL began actively promoting its e-magazine titles. Since then, borrowing rates have increased 100 per cent.
“Libraries have always connected people to information and there is now increasing demand for e-content,” said Jane Pyper, a City Librarian. “We want to let as many people as possible know that e-books and e-magazines are available.”
The TPL was recognized in 2008 as averaging a higher circulation per capita than any other public library system, making it the largest neighbourhood-based library system in the world. So when this library embraces digital literacy, it should be marked as a sign of things to come. As one of the world’s busiest urban public library systems, 19 million people visit its branches every year and borrow 32 million items.
The campaign supports TPL’s strategic plan objective of growing a city of readers by a variety of means including building awareness of the availability of e-content. Thus far the most popular emagazines have been The Economist, House & Home, Us Weekly, National Geographic and Rolling Stone.
One of the most popular ebooks thus far has been Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.