From The Guardian:
The fight to keep libraries open has dominated the headlines but the UK has quietly lost more than 200 branches over the past year, according to a detailed national survey.
The rate of library closures has increased, reveals the annual report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy: 146 branches closed between 2010 and 2011, with the number stepping up to 201 this year. The UK now has 4,265 libraries, compared with 4,612 two years ago, and the number of closures is likely to grow.
Librarian numbers have fallen in line with branch closures, claimed the CIPFA survey on Monday, down 8% in the year to March 2012 compared with a 4.3% fall the previous year, while the number of volunteers working in libraries continues to rise – up by 8.9% this year – as councils hand over responsibilities for local branches to residents.
Visits to libraries across the UK have also dropped, down 2.4% to 306.6m and down 6.7% compared with five years ago, when there were 328.5m visits. Adults are borrowing less fiction – down 5.4% – and less non-fiction – down 7.3% – with the only growth seen in borrowing of children’s fiction, up 0.3%.
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