Better off more likely to use libraries

Better off more likely to use libraries

People in the least deprived areas of England are most likely to have visited a library in the past 12 months, according to new government statistics.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport's This Cultural and Sporting Life: Taking Part report said between 2005/06 and 2010/11, the proportion of people visiting a public library declined in all regions from 48.2% to 39.7%. However, this figure has stabilised in more recent years with "no significant change" seen between 2008/09 (41.%) and 2010/11 (39.7%). The figures showed 75.6% of children had visited a library in the last 12 months, a figure that had remained steady since 2008/09.

Those from rural areas (38.2%) are almost as likely as people in urban areas (40.0%) to have visited a library in the last 12 months.

The report found 43.5% of people from the least deprived parts of England used a library last year, compared to 39.8% of those from the most deprived parts of the country. However, the report said the difference "was not as stark as it is for other cultural sectors".

Of those surveyed, 65.2% said they were very satisfied with the service they received, 27.3% said they were fairly satisfied and only 0.5% were dissatisfied. The overwhelming source of complaint was the choice and physical condition of the resources available (54%).

Last year women (44.8%) were more likely to visit a library in person than men (34.3%). However, men (4.2%) were significantly more likely than women (3.2%) to participate digitally.

The report examines participation in culture and sport, volunteering, digital participation and cycling and swimming proficiency. The survey covers the period from April 2010 to March 2011.