Here’s an an interview with Bruno Racine, Director of the National Library of France (pBibliotheque Nationale de France, BnF) published by The Hindu.
The complete interview runs about 1000 words.
Here is one exchange:
Q. Excluding resear ch scholars, far fewer people are visiting libraries today. What is the French experience?
Mr. Racine: I have to say, the trend is downwards. But we have to make a distinction between those who read online and the ones who come to the reading room. The libraries have not emptied out. Students do come here; I suppose they like to work from here. They may not borrow books, but libraries offer a quiet place and a friendly environment for the young. To address the young, public libraries have to offer services that correspond to their aspirations and give them rooms where they don’t have to whisper and can work together. We have five million items online, excluding copyright material, and our experience shows that people tend to use online resources and confine their visits to the library for a specific enquiry. So, the answer to your question is, the number of books being consulted and the number of physical readers has decreased slightly because more and more people have moved online.
Read the Complete Interview