|Library Visits Rise By 9.5% During Economic Downturn
Ashton Library, Ashton-In-Makerfield, Wigan.
Libraries across Wigan and Leigh have experienced a surge of activity during the credit crunch and subsequent recession.
During October, November and December 2008 visitor numbers shot up by 9.5 per cent, on the previous year, with 328,767 walking through the doors of the borough’s 18 libraries.
While in the traditionally quiet month of December the number of items being taken out increased by 6 per cent followed by a 3 per cent rise in January with 111,494 items being borrowed.
In December the number of books being issued rose by 6 per cent, music CDs by 11 per cent and DVDs by a massive 14 per cent.
The latest figures have been compiled by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), who manage the borough’s libraries on behalf of the council.
Taryn Pearson, head of Lifelong Learning and Information for WLCT, said: “These are difficult times for everyone and people are saving money where they can by borrowing instead of buying.
“We’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of books, CDs and DVDs being taken out but also a rise in usage of free internet access at our libraries.
“What’s astonishing is that December is traditionally a quiet time for libraries so to see a rise of almost 10 per cent is remarkable.”
Taryn added: “These figures exemplify the vital role libraries play in our communities.
“They are a fantastic resource for everyone.”
The number of people logging on to the libraries free Internet service – the People’s Network – shot up by 12 per cent in January with 19,538 people booking a session.
Platt Bridge library showed the biggest rise during the third financial quarter with 44 per cent increase in visitors – 10,863.
While Atherton and Leigh Library showed significant rises – 25 and 16 per cent respectively.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust offer a wide range of free activities including My Guide courses - an introduction to using computers and the Internet at Wigan, Leigh and Ashton libraries and free weekly under fives storytime / craft sessions in all libraries.
Baby rhyme times are held at selected libraries and there’s also Saturday craft sessions for children aged five plus and a baby club for under two-years-old at the new Wigan Children's library in the Galleries shopping centre.
If you’d like to join simply call in to your local library or visit www.wlct.org for more information.