On Monday 8 July 2024, Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture published the results of a study into reading practices and library use in the Grand Duchy.

This study was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and was carried out in collaboration with Ilres; it constitutes the third issue of the series Studies by the Ministry of Culture carried out within the framework of recommendation no. 47 of the Kulturentwécklungsplang 2018-2028 (“carry out a survey on the cultural practices of the country, with a periodicity of 10 years”). The two previous studies in the same series were on the use of the cultural field and museum audiences.

The latest figures on the population's reading practices and library uses date back to 2001 and 2009 respectively and, given the evolution of reading practices, particularly in relation to paper and digital formats, an update of the data was necessary.

Presented during the recent Library Sector Conferences, the 41-page study results provide valuable information with a view to the future reform of the law of 24 June 2010 relating to public libraries.

The study found that 84% of those surveyed had read at least one book in the last 12 months (a clear progression compared to old surveys, going from 61% in 2001 to 70% in 2009 to reach 84% in 2023). Regarding the socio-demographic characteristics studied, the number of books read increases with the level of education/training (71% for people with primary education compared to 93% for people with higher education). People registered in libraries also tend to read more (95% compared to 80% for non-registered people) as do women (88% compared to 80% for men).

The majority of readers are among those aged 16-34 (88% compared to 84% for those aged 35-54 and 81% for those over 55). However, with age, the rate of people reading more than 10 books per year increases (38% for those over 55 compared to a general average of 28%), but that the number of people not reading any book also increases (19% for those over 55 compared to 16% for 35-54 year olds and 12% for 16-34 year olds)

Since the last surveys on reading practices, reading formats have greatly diversified, particularly with the emergence of digital technology. Survey respondents were asked how often they used different reading formats. 96% say they read in paper format, 67% in digital format and 51% use audio media. Paper format remains the preferred medium, especially for heavy readers (10 books and more) and 28% of readers say they read exclusively using it. However, a significant part of the readership uses different formats at different frequencies and we see that new formats, especially digital, have found their place within the literary landscape.

The survey also found that people registered in a library are more likely to use digital format (74% compared to 63% for those who are not registered) as well as the audio format (66% compared to 46% for those who are not registered). For paper format, there is almost no difference in usage between registered and non-registered library users.
While there are almost no generational differences when it comes to paper formats, the use of digital and audio formats declines with age: digital use decreases by almost a third, going from 80% for 16-34 year olds to 52% for those over 55. Audio drops by half, from 68% for 16-34 year olds to 33% for those over 55. Use of audio format is also used more by people with a professional activity (57% compared to 43% for people without a professional activity).

This study canvassed a representative sample of 1,030 residents of Luxembourg between September and October 2023, aged 16+ years.