She said she was pleased to see the influence of films and TV on borrowing choices, particularly in the young-adult sector, had diminished.

While the index didn’t yet show the impact of the current restrictions, McKerracher said ebook loans had jumped. ‘‘We look at ebooks and usually see a borrowing rate of 5-8 per cent of total loans. But that has doubled in the past six weeks. It will be interesting to see how this affects library use in the long-term.’’

Iain Finlayson, Managing Director of Libraries and Education Solutions at Civica, said the take-up of digital borrowing had been massive: ‘‘I think it’s definitely a shift. People are more comfortable using e-technology and can see the benefits. You might wait in a long queue for a print book from a library but often they have 10 or 12 copies of the digital version.

‘‘I think traditional borrowing will return to what it was before the restrictions, but digital borrowing will continue to increase.’’ he said.

The ALIA has undertaken a new survey of 500 library users since libraries were closed and McKerracher said 87 per cent of them missed borrowing physical books. ‘‘People still have access to digital loans so it shows a strong interest in print books. In addition, 44 per cent of them reported missing the help they received from library staff, and 40 per cent said they missed being around other people in libraries.’’

1 Nine perfect strangers, Liane Moriarty
2 Becoming, Michelle Obama
3 Past Tense, Lee Child
4 The Lost Man, Jane Harper
5 The Barefoot Investor, Scott Pape
6 Any Ordinary Day, Leigh Sales
7 Killer Instinct, James Patterson
8 Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton
9 Bridge of Clay, Markus Zusak
10 The Barefoot Investor for Families, Scott Pape



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