Library data for the whole of the UK in 2012-13 shows the reduction in the number of libraries has slowed in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, with 74* libraries closing in the year compared to 201 closures the previous year.
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) UK Annual Libraries Survey, published today, also shows visitor numbers declining by 6% compared to the previous year while book issues dropped by 8.6%.
Meanwhile staff numbers continued their fall, down 6.8% year on year, but in contrast there was a marked increase in the number of volunteers with numbers increasing 44% in 2012-13†.
Speaking on the libraries data, 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 have fallen again, this has slowed. However the surge in volunteer numbers would suggest that libraries are searching for new and innovative ways to engage and serve their communities.”
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Notes to editors:
Analysis of Staff and Volunteers in UK libraries
Visits to library premises (000s)
Visits per 1,000 population
Active borrowers (000s)
- Bookstock (000s)
- Bookstock per 1,000 population
- Audio, visual, electronic and other materials (000s)*
*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.
Busiest libraries in England top 20^
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
'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.
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.