National statistics 2005 and some things you never knew

We trawl through the latest official stats to find out truths about libraries.

Visits to libraries is around 340m, which equates to 5.7 visits per person, more people than go to football matches each year, or which visit the UK’s top 20 tourist attractions put together.

47% of the UK adult population are registered with their library.

73% of visitors say they use libraries to borrow or return books, 21% seek information, 13% use the internet, 12% read a newspaper, 10% study or work. 

There was a 23% fall in book issues between 1990 and 2005, a drop of nearly 100m in 5 years. Annual issues per person per year stood at 7.23 and 5.52 respectively.

Adult borrowing has declined by 40% in the past 10 years. 

Children borrow more books than adults, averaging 8.1 books per child aged 14 or under compared to 5.0 books per person per adult.

Issues of audio, visual, electronic and other stock rose 2.4%. 

There was a 4% fall in the total number of static public libraries in England between 1995 and 2005.

The number of mobile libraries fell in the same period from 496 to 433. 

Local authorities spent £1,099m on provision of public library services. An estimated increase to £1,108m and further increases of £37m annually will be required to maintain current levels of service.

Expenditure on books makes up 9% with staff costs amounting to 55% of budget. In the 1980s expenditure on books of 18% of the total was the norm.

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