Recession drives library visits

<p>The London borough of Westminster has reported a strong increase in its library visitor numbers as the recession bites. Director of libraries David Ruse said visits were up 10.5% (a total of 634,600) over the three months to the end of January 2009, compared to the same period the previous year.<br /><br />During the same three-month period, the number of new members (7,613) was up 18.3% on the previous year. That some of the increase in the popularity of Westminster libraries is due to the recession is indicated by higher demand in certain non-fiction categories, with personal finance borrowing up 11.8%, business and management up 6.3% and basic skills books up 35.4%.</p><p>The <em>Birmingham Mail</em> has reported that library use is also up locally as a result of the recession, with numbers of library members swelling by 4,500 to a total of 175,000.</p>