FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers downloaded record numbers of ebooks and audiobooks during the past holiday season. Statistics gathered this month show that more than twice as many titles were borrowed compared to this time last year.

More than 1,400 electronic titles were downloaded during the three-day period between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28, compared to about 600 during the same period in 2011.

“Our public library service strives to offer the most up-to-date resources and this most recent rise in usage statistics tells us that the public are eager to embrace those electronic resources,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy. “The success of the Electronic Library shows that we are providing a valuable service for New Brunswickers who enjoy reading on their tablets, eReaders, and other mobile devices.”

More than 14,900 ebooks and downloadable audiobooks are available through the Electronic Library. More than 4,000 of those titles were added in December, when the New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation provided a grant of $100,000 to the Electronic Library in preparation for the typically-busy Christmas season.
“The foundation has always strived to support the New Brunswick Public Library Service's collection,” said Brian Hudson, chair of the New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation. “The gift made to the Electronic Library in December acknowledged the demand for electronic formats, and the increased usage shows us it was a good investment.”

More than 6,000 people have used the Electronic Library to date, and that number is expected to continue climbing in 2013.

The Electronic Library was created in 2010 and constitutes less than one per cent of the library service's overall collection. The Electronic Library circulated almost 50,000 items in 2011-12, while the library service's print books and audiovisual materials reach more than 2.7 million circulations annually.

“These most recent usage statistics indicate that New Brunswickers have adopted electronic formats as a new addition to the offerings of our public library service,” said Soucy. “Our government will continue to invest in all resource formats that support literacy, life-long learning, and an enhanced quality of life for New Brunswickers.”

Individuals who do not have a library card may get one for free at any public library or bookmobile, or order one from the website.