Third year of library book spend fall, says LISU

<p>Book spend in UK public libraries has declined for the third year running, according to the latest statistics.<br />Newly released headline figures from the LISU Public Library Materials Fund and Budget Survey, which is backed by Nielsen BookData, show spending on books falling -1% in 2007/8. The fall represents an increase in the rate of decline on the two previous years (-0.6% in 2006/7 and -0.2% in 2005/6).</p><p>Budget estimates for 2008/09 suggest there will also be a further -0.5% decline in library spending on books over the next annual period.</p><p>The decline in book spend comes against a background in which total library expenditure has remained flat year-on-year. Thirty-eight &quot;service points&quot; have been lost across 42 authorities, a decline of -1% overall. However library opening hours have increased (up 0.5%), with a further increase of 0.4% estimated for 2008/9. Total reported staff numbers have fallen by 1.2%, with professional staff hit particularly hard, down 6.2%.</p><p>Clare Creaser, director of the LISU research and information centre at Loughborough University, said: &quot;The headline figures from this report show a broad overview of public library spending on materials, but conceal a wide variation between individual authorities. Although the overall picture<br />is one of declining budgets, a number of authorities have seen budget increases, in some cases substantial.&quot;</p><p>The full report, including actual figures, will be published on 3rd November.</p>