Thursday, April 16, 2009

Public Libraries Look to New Services in Japan

Public libraries look to new services
Taisuke Takeda and Hiroko Toda / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers

A "concierge," of Chiyoda Public Library in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, provides people with useful information about its selection of books and even local restaurants.

Amid the global recession, various kinds of rental services have become popular among increasingly budget-conscious people, with many public libraries looking to attract new users with new services in addition to conventional ones.

Fuchu City Library in Fuchu, western Tokyo, has the most extensive collection of audiovisual material among public libraries in Tokyo. It has 44,000 CDs and 20,000 DVDs and videotapes, and 10 special viewing booths. Most of this material can be borrowed.

"An increasing number of people are using the library, where they can borrow items whenever they need to, as a study or reading resource," library director Toshihiko Sakurada said.
Due to the constraints of copyright and other issues, the library usually purchases audiovisual products six months to a year after their first appearance in CD rental shops.

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