Figures show library usage has plummeted

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21st February 2017 14:51 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Figures show library usage has plummeted: According to new a new piece of research by the government’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), public library usage amongst adults has plummeted by nearly a third since 2005.Figures show library usage has plummeted

The research, entitled the Taking Part Report, was commissioned to measure the engagement levels amongst adults in culture and uncovered that 33.8 per cent of adults had used a public library service in the (almost) two years between October 2014 and September 2016. This figure represents a 29.8 per cent decrease from the 48.2 per cent recorded in 2005.

The government report revealed that the amount of adults who use a public library service had fallen almost every year since the conception of the survey in 2005/06.

The survey also measured 3 other cultural sectors, as well as public library uptake, but discovered that public libraries was the only sector which had seen a continuous decline since 2005.

As a result of the survey findings, some campaigners have called for official government bodies, namely the Libraries Taskforce, Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Arts Council England (ACE) to urgently focus their attention on then public library sector and what can be done to help tackle the decline.

The report also broke down the usage statistics across different demographics to reveal that fewer adults from lower socio-economic groups (29.7 per cent) used a library compared with the respondents from the upper-socio economic groups (35.9 per cent).

When looking at public library engagement between the sexes, it was found that the rate of engagement was higher for females, with 37.6 per cent saying that they had used a library in the year prior to the survey, in comparison with 29.9 per cent of men.

The survey also found that more adults from black and minority ethnic groups used a library within the same 12 month period, with 43.9 per cent saying that they had, in comparison with 32.4 per cent of white adults.

When exploring the library engagement of disabled and non-disabled adults, it was found that 35.3 per cent of disabled adults had used a library in the same 12 month period, compared with 33.2 per cent of the adults who had no disability or long-standing illness.

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