Survey reveals the extent of library closure during 2014 and 2015

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4th January 2016 11:29 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

A recent survey has revealed the extent of library closure during 2014 and 2015, with the findings revealing that the number of libraries open Survey reveals the extent of library closure during 2014 and 2015decreased by 2.6 per cent in 2014, from 4,023 to 3,917.

Released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the figures were drawn from its annual survey of libraries in Britain.

Of the counties in Great Britain, Wales saw the biggest fall in libraries, from 308 to 274, whereas in England, the number of libraries fell from 3,142 to 3,076. In Scotland, just 6 libraries closed.

Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, Rob Whiteman, said of the survey findings:

"Cost-cutting measures continue to hit unprotected services hard and fewer people are using public libraries,"

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s results revealed that visits to the library fell by 3.9 per cent, from 276 million in 2013-14, to 265 million in 2014-15, however, they were not able to disclose whether the fall was a result of a loss of services, or if other factors were in play, such as the introduction and uptake of e-books.

According to a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, there were 225 million visits to libraries in England last year. It was added that there had also been many libraries opening during the survey period, including some in Stafford, the West Midlands, Camberwell and South London.

The spokesperson said: "We know that libraries continue to be popular but that people want different things from them. That's why the government set up the Libraries Task Force to help them improve things like digital access and e-lending,"

"We have also made free wifi available in libraries around England and this year some new state-of-the-art facilities have opened, providing new technology to the local people they serve."

The research findings also revealed that the amount of money spent on books, periodicals, magazines and newspapers fell in the last year by 10.6 per cent, from £72 million, to £64 million. On the other hand, the money spent on online and electronics increased by 1.7 per cent, from £11.6 million to £12.2 million.

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