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BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana's public libraries recorded more than 9 million visits in 2022 and patrons checked out items more than 46 million times, marking double-digit growth over the prior year, newly released figures show.

The numbers were reported in the 2022 edition of Public Libraries in Louisiana: Statistical Report, which is compiled by the State Library of Louisiana and was recently completed and released. All 67 public library systems in the state provided data for the report.

"Public libraries are so important to the communities they serve. The proof is there in black and white when you look at these stats," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "Our libraries are true community hubs with so many different and invaluable services. A vibrant state needs vibrant public libraries, and we have that here in Louisiana."

In-person visits to the 334 public library locations and 29 bookmobiles across the state dropped steeply during the coronavirus pandemic when stay-at-home orders were in place. But visits have steadily increased since 2020. In 2022, public libraries saw 9.2 million visits, an increase of 21% compared to the prior year.

While visits fell off during the pandemic, the public's appetite for items to check out remained insatiable. In fact, that figure has only grown. Patrons borrowed items 46.8 million times in 2022, an increase of 13% compared to 2021. Of the loans in 2022, 35.1 million of them were electronic items, such as e-books.

Use of electronic resources also continued to grow, the report shows. Patrons used computers at public libraries 1.8 million times and logged on to Wi-Fi 4.7 million times in 2022.

Also of note:

• There were 2.4 million library card holders in Louisiana in 2022, almost 54% of the state.
Librarians answered 2.5 million reference questions in person and online.
• 2.1 million people attended almost 75,000 in-person and live virtual events hosted by public libraries.
• Electronic databases were accessed almost 26 million times by library card holders.
• More than 72,000 items were borrowed for patrons by their home library from another library through the Interlibrary Loan System.

"These figures clearly show the public's enthusiasm for all the services libraries provide, especially when you consider that Louisiana's population is about 4.5 million people," said State Librarian Meg Placke. "We say it all the time: the modern library is more than just a place to check out books. And the best part is these services are offered free of charge."

"I've been putting this report together for a long time, and I'm so gratified to see these numbers show growth," said Associate State Librarian Michael Golrick. "Patrons have made it clear that they value what their local libraries offer."

A complete copy of the 2022 Public Libraries in Louisiana: Statistical Report and previous year's editions can be found on the State Library's website.

Daniel Monteverde
State Library of Louisiana
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Veronica Mosgrove
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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