Region’s libraries defy national trend - but still see fewer visitors

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The UK lost another 49 libraries last year, according to an annual survey, but Yorkshire bucked national trends and only saw a slight decline in visitors to its libraries.

Throughout the UK the numbers visiting libraries and borrowing books is in decline but in Yorkshire and the Humber figures show libraries saw a 0.2 per cent reduction in visitors in 2013-14 compared with a nationwide figure of two per cent.

The region also experienced a year-on-year growth in income from libraries of 9.2 per cent, one of the highest in the UK.

However the figures compiled by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) found the total number of libraries throughout the country in 2013/14 had dropped 1.2 per cent to 4,145 - 337 fewer than in 2009/10.

Cipfa chief executive, Rob Whiteman, said: “While local authorities are continuing to seek new ways to make sure libraries can continue to act as a vital part of our communities, the statistics show that there is significant pressure on library services across pretty much every area of the UK.

“Despite the decline of libraries, borrowers and books, the growth in volunteers show that many local councils are committed to ensuring that their libraries explore new ways of keeping the doors open.”