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11Dec

More than two hundred libraries closed in the UK last year

Recently a CIPFA's annual survey concluded that 201 public libraries have been cut in the United Kingdom between 2011 and 2012, a decrease of 4.5 percent. Moreover, staff numbers have dropped by 8 percent. In the same period the number of volunteers increased by 8.9 percent. Around 1.833 full-time equivalent staff members have lost their job.

Chetham's Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.

The number of books issued by libraries also decreased, as did the number of active borrowers. There was a 14 percent drop in the number of web visits carried out at libraries. Rates also fell for adult fiction and non-fiction and children's non fiction. There was however a small rise of 0.3 percent in the number of children's story books borrowed.

According to Julian Mund, the institute's product development director, the increase in the number of children's fiction books issued and the increase in volunteers shows how libraries continue to be seen as much valued hubs for their communities. "Despite the large increase in closures of libraries, the largest, most popular and therefore more viable libraries were largely staying open", Mund added.

The most active library in the UK in terms of the number of books issued was Norfolk & Norwich Millennium library, followed by Oxford Central, Chelmsford and Cambridge Central libraries. Norfolk & Norwich Millennium also remains the most visited, attracting more than 1.3 million visits. It was followed by Birmingham Central, which received 1.2 million visits and Croydon Central, with just over 1 million visits.

www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2012/12/library-closures-hit-200-last-year-cipfa-survey-shows