This is Libraries Week here in the UK, so I’m posting an article everyday to celebrate how libraries connect with their communities.
I don’t often write posts on here full of facts and figures; I usually write much more emotively, about my personal experiences as both a library user and a library employee. This time, however, I’m making an exception.
There tends to be a negative narrative in the media about libraries, usually about library closures or reductions in services due to government funding cuts, or how paid and qualified library staff are being replaced by unpaid, unqualified teams of volunteers.
It is worth reminding ourselves just how popular and successful our libraries are, and that’s where these facts and figures come in (all courtesy of the Libraries Week website).
- 250 million visits were made to public libraries in Great Britain last year – that’s more than cinema and theatre visits, visits to the UK’s top ten tourist attractions and the number of people that went to live music gigs COMBINED!
- Over 1.6 million visits were made to the Library of Birmingham last year, making it the UK’s busiest library
- Young people are the group most likely to use public libraries. 15-25 year olds are more likely to use libraries than over 55s across the British Isles.
- Three out of every four people in the UK and Ireland say that libraries are important or essential to their community.
- 51% of us have a current library card and 47% have used a public library in the last twelve months. (Backed up by Carnegie UK Trust data)
- There was a 330% increase in coding clubs Mar-Dec 2016
These facts and figures are certainly worth celebrating!