Majority of city libraries lose visitors

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Central Library. Pic by Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

Central Library. Pic by Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

All but three of Liverpool’s libraries reported a drop in the number of visitors in the past year, with 150,000 staying away, according to figures released by the council.

The only institutions to see an increase in visitors were Childwall, Lee Valley and the main Liverpool Central Library, which has seen a one per cent year-on-year rise.

Childwall councillor Ruth Hirschfield said: “Libraries can be a social place and can be used to access internet research of all kinds, storytelling and social activities and meetings.

“The number of visitors to the library at Childwall may not have dropped because of a variety of reasons, such as its location which is close to schools, bus routes, local shops and cafes. A lot of families and pensioners live nearby and Childwall High School has direct links to the library. It is still at the heart of Childwall.”

Fazakerley saw a drop of 44% of visitors compared to the year before.

A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “We know our libraries are much loved which is why we have found innovative ways of retaining them despite the 58 per cent cut to our budget by central Government.

“There is always an annual fluctuation in the numbers and thanks to national and local reading campaigns we saw a spike in 2014 which bucked the trend across the rest of the country.

“We recognise that people lead busy lives and can find it hard to visit a library which is we have been increasing the number of books available in our e-library service to enable them to download publications on their mobile devices 24 hours a day.”

About Sophie Corcoran, JMU Journalism