Voices for the Library aims to provide a balanced view of the service and the professionals who work there, and to discuss some ideas for the way forward. We don’t want to lose our libraries, and we aim to ensure future generations continue to enjoy access to free unbiased public libraries and librarians.
We are inviting everybody who uses, loves or needs the services UK public libraries and librarians provide to join us, share your stories of why you want to save the services, explain what they mean to you, your friends and your families.
We believe that working together is the best way to create the public libraries we all want to use, providing as wide a range of information, recreational reading and activities supporting learning and literacy as possible. Not just for now, but forever.
Public libraries have been in the news a lot recently, with a lot of people focussing on the diminishing use of public libraries in 21st century Britain. Voices for the Library are concerned that the full story is not being told.
According to the CIPFA statistics, 2009 was a pretty good year for public libraries. Although visits were once again down (by around 1%), book issues had increased from 307,571,240 to 310,776,757 (an increase of 1%). Yes, book issues actually went up in 2009.
Although physical visits were down year-on-year – the figure which much coverage has been focussing on – visits via the library website have also shown notable growth over the period 2008-9. In fact, the number of web visits to UK libraries increasing by 49% over the previous year, up from 76,192,000 to 113,489,000.
What these latest statistics suggest is not a service in decline, but a service that is changing and developing to meet the needs of library users. Despite the constant refrain that libraries are in decline, the reality is that libraries are seeing an increase in usage, particularly through library websites. These are times of opportunity, not decline.
Voices for the Library are:
- Adrienne Cooper
- Abby Barker
- Bethan Ruddock
- Christine Rooney-Browne
- Ian Anstice
- Johanna Anderson
- Lauren Smith
- Mick Fortune
- Simon Barron
- Thomas Connelly
- Tom Roper
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