Library satisfaction remains high despite service changes


by Daniel Wake, Senior Researcher 

Over the last few years, many library services have undergone significant changes. Some libraries had to close or adjust their opening hours, while others are becoming community-run. Despite these changes, our Public Library Users Survey (PLUS) national report suggests that library visitors remain both happy and engaged with services. The national report is due to be launched later this year, but below is a sneak preview of some of the findings.

Firstly, overall satisfaction of the library remains high, with 93% of respondents rating the library as very good or good. Although the majority of library visitors can be classified as long-term users, we found that more than one in five respondents have been using the library for less than a year or are first time visitors. More than half of respondents said that the library has helped them with study or learning, while about a third said it has helped with health and wellbeing or getting online. Interestingly we also found that approximately one in eight visitors used their own computers during their visit; an increase from the one in ten that did so as reported in the last national report.

We also include findings in the national report relating to visitor postcodes and levels of deprivation. We found that those living in the least deprived areas were more likely to use private transport to travel to the library, whereas those in the most deprived areas were more likely to travel on foot. It was also the case that those living in the most deprived areas were almost twice as likely to use public transport as those living in the least deprived areas. Additionally, as the level of deprivation decreased, the intention to borrow one or more books increased. Whereas when deprivation increased intentions to use a library computer and intentions to find something out also increased.

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