The Canadian Press reports that Montreal’s largest library, the Grande Bibliotheque, is thriving, and Canadian library usage in general is up 45% over the last ten years, largely due to electronic media. The article states that use of electronic databases “more than doubled” and Internet use of library websites and catalogs quintupled over that period.

The key to a library’s success, said Guy Berthiaume, director of the Grande Bibliotheque, is to adapt with the times.

The Montreal library now has 200,000 ebook titles available with plans for more on the way.

The big bonus? They’re automatically returned so there’s no late fees. And the digital version of tomes like, say, War and Peace are a whole lot lighter.

They can also be downloaded from home with the click of a mouse, though many choose to visit the library for the atmosphere, Berthiaume said in an interview.

Membership in the Grande Bibliotheque is up 17% over the last five years, with 286,000 active members and 3 million annual visits, making it the busiest library in the French-speaking world.


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