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University students borrow less books for 5 straight years

South Korean university students have borrowed less books from libraries for five straight years, due mainly to the increase of electronic data and decline in general book readership, a statistical data said Monday.

Each student borrowed an average of 7.4 books last year from 409 school libraries nationwide including two-year junior colleges, according to Korea Education and Research Information Service. 

The public organization under the education ministry said student book rentals from libraries have declined continuously since 2011 when each student borrowed 10.3 books. 

Data showed that this number fell to an average of 9.6 books in 2012, 8.7 books in 2013 and 7.8 books in 2014.

Of the total 2.023 million university students across the country, some 1.166 million used the library book lending system, which is 57.7 percent of the total. This, on the other hand, means, 42 percent did not use the rental system in 2015.

Literature-related books were borrowed the most, accounting for 20.9 percent of the total, followed by social science with 20.5 percent and technology and natural science with 13.4 percent.

Each Seoul National University student borrowed some 24 books on average, the largest among all universities in the country.

Meanwhile, purchasing expenses for documents and data at each university library dropped to 871 million won on average from the previous year's 890 million won, attributable to the decrease in university student enrollment.

Electronic data purchases have been outpacing demand for printed materials ever since 2012. Until 2011, the ratio of students purchasing printed materials was higher than electronic data, but thereafter, the ratio between the two reversed, with the purchase of electronic data increasing to 64.4 percent as of last year.

According to KERIS data, the number of books at university libraries increased by 3.8 million last year, down sharply from 5.06 million books tallied in 2011. (Yonhap)

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