Number of children visiting libraries is falling, survey finds
3rd August 2015 12:23 - Museums, Libraries and Archives
Government figures have shown that the amount of children visiting libraries has fallen since 2010.
According to a survey by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the number of children, aged between 5 and 10, who had visited the library in the 7 days prior to the survey, has fallen by 25 per cent.
In 2010, 18 per cent of children had visited the library in the 7 days before taking part in the survey, in comparison with 13 per cent of children in 2014. Similarly, the amount of children who had been to the library within the 12 months prior to the survey fell from 76 per cent in 2010, to 67 per cent in 2015.
As well as this, there was a less notable fall of 6 per cent of 5 to 15 year olds visiting libraries in the week before the survey.
However, the amount of children aged between 11 and 15 who had been to the library in the last week increased by 15 per cent.
According to the most recent figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, there are 3,450 libraries in England.
Chris Riddell, Writer, Illustrator and the UK’s Children’s Laureate, said that the falling number of children visiting libraries is a “great concern”.
He also said: “I am passionate about the role of libraries, both in schools and in the wider community.
“They are unique places where children can begin their journey as readers, as well as being creative hubs. Some of my favourite events have taken place in libraries and over the next two years I intend to visit as many libraries as I can.”
In contrast, Diana Gerald, CEO of the reading charity, Book Trust said that the findings were “amazing”.
She added: “Over recent years children’s use of libraries has been consistently high, and even with all the other modern attractions libraries are still visited by 70 per cent of under-15s – that’s quite amazing.”
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