CIPFA: 100 public libraries close as spending continues to be cut

9 Dec 15

Council spending on library services across England, Scotland and Wales was cut by £50m in 2014/15, leading to closure of more than 100 libraries, figures from CIPFA have revealed.

Manchester Central Library

Manchester's Central Library was the most visited in country with 1.3 million visits Photo: Wiki Commons

 

In its annual survey of local government library spending, the institute found total visits to libraries fell by 3.9% in the year, down from 276 million in 2013/14 to 265 million in 2014/15.

Overall, spending on library services across Britain fell from £990m to £940m, with the number of libraries down by 2.6%, from 4,023 to 3,917.

CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman said that the survey “makes for grim reading”.

Over the whole of the last parliament, funding for libraries was cut by more than £180m (16%), with visits down 13.6% in the same period, he highlighted.

“Cost-cutting measures continue to hit unprotected services hard and fewer people are using public libraries.

“Yet there is some hope. Volunteer numbers have nearly doubled over the past five years. Tens of thousands of people are now giving their time to make sure these precious resource survive.”

The survey also collected data on regional library use. The top five most visited libraries across England, Scotland and Wales over the last year were:

 

1.   Central Manchester, Manchester: 1,332,999 visits

 

2.   Norfolk & Norwich Millennium, Norfolk: 1,173,809 visits

 

3.   Wembley, Brent: 1,169,735 visits

 

4.   Woolwich, Greenwich: 1,097,641 visits

 

5.   Jubilee Brighton, Brighton & Hove: 952,083 visits