Cyprus Mail

Libraries proving increasingly popular

The library at the University of Cyprus

Bibliophiles are increasingly flocking to libraries, with an observed interest in crime novels and social sciences.

According to three librarians interviewed by the Cyprus News Agency, libraries are becoming increasingly popular in Cyprus, beyond the stereotypical students trying to cram for their exams or finish their assignments.

Pensioners, parents and people with a personal interest in books, are registering in Nicosia libraries including those of the University of Cyprus (UCy), and the public libraries in Strovolos and Aglandjia.

In an interview carried by CNA on Saturday, director of the UCy library Elena Diomidi explained that since the university library open its new premises in 2019 “there has been an impressive number of visits because the building is just fascinating.”

In its first year of operation, there were 500,000 visits per year. For the following few years, the pandemic put a damper on the number of visits due to tight restrictions, however so far this year, the footprint amounts to 300,000 visits.

Naturally, exam periods and the end of academic semesters are far busier times, and though the majority of visitors are students and academics, there are external visitors that come by.

Every year there are about 1,000 new members according to Diomidi, and though there are no exact numbers, external visitors are estimated to be around 5 to 6 per cent of the library users.

STEM field subjects have the latest material but are not particularly popular, she said. Humanities on the other hand, such as the classics and social sciences are higher in demand.

There is also a children’s collection for primary school children “with increased visits in this section”.

Diomidi highlighted students from other universities in Cyprus and abroad have also shown interest in visiting the UCy library, while so far, visitors have been very enthusiastic.

Librarian at Strovolos university Michalis Ktoris said their premises have been in the same location since 2015 and offer around 50,000 books.

He too has also observed increased trends in library attendance, with 1,200 new users singing up in the last two to three years.

Ktoris explained there are two broad categories of users: students or individuals who are studying, and active users borrowing books.

“We now have 8,000 active users, of which 40 per cent are aged between 35-45,” he said.

Thirty per cent of users are aged 65 and above while 20 per cent are children and 10 per cent are of other ages.

Greek and foreign crime literature are the most popular categories, while in Aglandjia’s municipal library, history, literature and books of a social nature are of high interest.

Chief librarian Nadia Polyviou said around 40 to 50 people come to the library every week, primarily pensioners, with a “constantly increasing” number of users.

She highlighted the library offers 29,000 books but does not yet have a digital catalogue.


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