Children borrow more titles, but library book spend plummets

Children borrow more titles, but library book spend plummets

Library spend on children&rsquo;s books fell dramatically in the past year, despite the growth in the number of children&rsquo;s books being borrowed from libraries.<br /><p>Statistics from the annual library survey, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance &amp; Accountancy, showed that from the 1st April 2009 to the 31st March 2010, children&rsquo;s fiction acquisitions fell by 13.4%, to &pound;3.1m compared with &pound;3.6m in the previous year. This means that 486,000 fewer fiction titles were bought in the past year. Spending on children&rsquo;s non-fiction is also down, by 12.1% to &pound;695,000.</p><p>This compares with a reduction in the number of adult fiction titles bought of 3.5%, or 180,000 books. Adult non-fiction acquisitions are down by 0.7%.</p><p>However, while issues of adult fiction books fell by 1% in the period, issues of children&rsquo;s fiction and non-fiction rose by 1.5% and 0.2% respectively.</p><p>Regions that saw the greatest falls in the amount spent on children&rsquo;s fiction include: the South West, where it was down 27.6%; the South East (excluding London), with a 24.1% fall; the North East where spend fell by 21.1%; and East Midlands, where it was down 17.9%.</p><p>The West Midlands, Wales and Yorkshire and Humberside also saw substantial falls, with only Scotland and Northern Ireland growing their children&rsquo;s fiction acquisitions last year. The total fall in England was 15.4%.</p><p>Reports from children&rsquo;s librarians, who declined to be quoted, suggest that even bigger cuts to book budgets are now under way so the full picture of cuts in acquisitions is unlikely to emerge until next year. </p>