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CIPFA stats show visitors down, loans down, and staff reduced
01.01.70 | Philip Jones
Statistics from the annual library survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for 2009-10 showed that visits to libraries dropped 1.1% to 321.5m, with book stock falling by 0.6% to 99.2m and the number of issues dropping by 0.5% to 309.4m. The figures also reveal that there are now almost 1,000 fewer library staff than there were a year ago.
The number of adult fiction titles loaned dropped 1% to 142.8m, non-fiction loans dropped by 1.7% to 70m, while the number of children's fiction titles loaned out increase by 1.5% to 81.3m, with non-fiction children's loans up 0.2% to 15.3m.
The number of visits to library websites rose from 113.5m to 120.2m, and have now risen by almost 90% over the past four years.
It is the second set of library statistics this year after CIPFA moved to a new annual timetable. The figures released show library spend, borrowing, visits and book spend from the 1st April 2009 to the 31st March 2010. From now on the CIPFA figures will always be released in the autumn and cover this period. A CIPFA spokesperson said the change in timing had come because local councils needed access to more recent statistics than have previously been on offer.
Norwich Library was the country's most visited with 1,497,760 visitors in 2009–10, issuing 1,154,563 books and other items over twelve months. The next most visited library, Birmingham Central Library, attracted 1,452,150 visitors over the same period.
The CIPFA survey shows that volunteering – central to the coalition Government’s vision for the ‘Big Society’ – has risen in public libraries in the past year. The total number of volunteers in UK libraries rose by 7.7% to 17,111 people. Over the same period, the number of library staff dropped by 3.4% to 24,765.
Chris Greene, CIPFA’s Head of Research and Statistics said: "Norwich and Norfolk’s fantastic achievement shows that modern libraries are as relevant to their communities as ever. In the light of the Big Society agenda, it is also interesting to note the significant rise in the level of volunteering in UK libraries."