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Libraries in London filled seven spots in the top twenty UK libraries in 2012-13 according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Annual Libraries Survey.
This was despite London seeing a 3.9% drop in its total expenditure on libraries in the year. Greater London was also the only region in the UK where there was no change in the total number of public libraries.
Woolwich library, Croydon Central library and Hounslow library all made the top ten, with the Idea Store Whitechapel, Sutton library, Wood Green library and the Barking Learning Centre also in the top twenty. Over 5 million visits were made to these 9 libraries in 2012-13.
Woolwich library is London’s most popular library, and the UK’s fourth most-visited, with 889,504 visitors in 2012-13. Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, which had 1,273,416 visitors, topped the poll.
Croydon Central library was the UK’s fifth most visited (882,144), and the region’s second. The City of London Library at the Barbican issued the most items in the capital in 2012-13 (438,675).
Speaking on the figures Drew Cullen, CIPFA’s Director of Communications said:
“The prominence of London libraries in this list shows the enduring popularity of library services in London. Despite continued cuts to expenditure there was no overall drop in the number of libraries in the capital which suggests that London boroughs are working hard to protect these important services.”
Speaking on the UK wide data released today by CIPFA on libraries in the UK, CIPFA’s Chief Executive Rob Whiteman said:
“Local authorities across the UK have worked hard over the past few years to identify savings and reduce their spending but now also seem to be looking at new ways of keeping their libraries open to the public.
“While the number of libraries and staff has fallen again, this has slowed. However the surge in volunteer numbers would suggest that libraries are searching for new ways to engage and serve their communities.”
Notes to Editors:
1. Headline figures from the latest CIPFA library statistics are available from www.cipfastats.net, with the full dataset available to subscribers.
2. For national library data from CIPFA please see the national press notice here:
3. Popularity is defined in relation to the number of visits to the library and the number of stock issues.
4. Library statistics:
Number of service points
South East exc. London
Yorkshire & Humberside
*Please note, where statistics have been shown in '000s, they have been rounded to the nearest thousand. Therefore, in some instances figures might not add down to totals. Percentage differences are based on the rounded totals.
5. The busiest libraries in the UK are:
Top 20 by number of visits per annum
Norfolk & Norwich Millennium
Brighton & Hove
Newcastle upon Tyne
Central Library Dundee
The Hive Worcester
Idea Store Whitechapel
Barking & Dagenham
Barking Learning Centre
Top 20 by number of issues per annum
Milton Keynes Central
City of London
Winchester Discovery Centre
Windsor & Maidenhead
6: Staff and volunteer numbers:
Analysis of Staff and Volunteers in UK libraries
% change over
Total Staff (F.T.E)
These figures are based on returns to the CIPFA Public Library Actuals survey 2012-13.
* The CIPFA survey asks for the library with the most visits and also the library with the most issues in a year, therefore only one library can qualify per authority. There is a small possibility that one authority could have a second library that would appear in the top 20 libraries. E.g. Colchester in Essex is the most visited library is Essex, however Chelmsford has higher issues, so if Colchester has >380,000 issues per annum it will still not be included in the above top 20.
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