GROWING IMPORTANCE OF INTERNET ACCESS TO LIBRARY USERS
Visits to public libraries last year increased by one percent, despite a two percent fall in borrowing books. Figures published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy also show that the number of computer terminals in libraries in the UK rose by 7% in the past year. The CIPFA figures suggest increased online and electronic resources for public library users may explain the rise in visitor numbers while lending has fallen.
The figures also show a 2% reduction in spending on books, but a 4% increase in the total number of books added to stock. This trend for more effective spending is set to continue as the national library purchasing model is implemented during the coming year. Saving are estimated at 20 million pounds a year. The new procurement arrangements will maintain local accountability for stock selection, create better availability and more efficient management of stock and reduce unit costs of stock.
Expenditure on online services increased by 10%, but they only form a fraction of overall materials expenditure which continues to be dominated by books, periodicals, newspapers and magazines.
There was a 7% increase in children’s books on library shelves in the year and this led to a 3% increase in lending.