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Public libraries in Berlin have experienced a surge in the number of individuals registering for library cards in the year 2023, according to the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB). Rather than solely relying on physical media, the library’s digital services have sparked the interest of thousands of new members.

A total of 118,000 people signed up for library cards at one of Berlin’s 80 public libraries in 2023, resulting in a significant increase in the number of active library card holders, now reaching 439,000. This rise in membership can be attributed to the library’s expanding digital offerings.

“We believe that the number of cards has risen sharply once again due to the digital services,” stated Anna Jacobi, spokesperson for the Berlin Central and Regional Library. The library’s digital loans, including streaming media from their comprehensive database, have increased from 1.5 million to 4.1 million since 2018.

Despite the growing popularity of digital services, the borrowing of physical media remains significant. In 2023 alone, there were 18.1 million loan transactions for physical items, such as books and magazines.

For those considering whether it is worth obtaining a library card in Berlin, the answer is a resounding yes. At a cost of only 10 euros per year, the benefits of a library card extend much further. “Libraries are not just about books; they are about people,” emphasized Jacobi. The libraries provide a welcoming space for individuals to work, read, and engage with others, particularly young people.

As Berlin’s public libraries continue to adapt and expand their digital services, the number of library card holders is expected to continue growing, further enriching the city’s literary and cultural landscape.