Statistics

Spending on public libraries in the UK Overview CIPFA are the recognised source of official information on public libraries but their information is often several months late, open to interpretation and highly charged for.  Reform of how they collect and publish public library figures there is urgently needed. CIPFA public library comparators are free and publicly available for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. LISU until recently produced a free and very useful collections of statistics, including all important comparisons with several previous years here. The information I collect below is from various sources.

“According to CIPFA’s annual library survey, the squeeze on council funding continues to take its toll on libraries, as spending, paid staff and branches declined again last year (2016/17), for the 7th year running. During 2016/17 total expenditure on council-run libraries fell by £66m, paid staff numbers fell by 5% (869) and there are 105 fewer libraries*. During the same time period visits to libraries fell by 3%, which adds to a 14% decline over five years. Whilst library resources continued to bear the brunt of austerity, the support libraries received to fill resource gaps rose in 2016/7 by 6%, this includes specific grants from the government and other bodies. During the same period, volunteer numbers increased by 8%, 43% since 2012.” CIPFA December 2017.

Taking Part 2016/17: quarter 4 statistical release – Gov.uk (September 2017). “In 2016/17, 34.0% of adults had used a public library service in the 12 months prior to interview. This is significantly lower than in 2005/06 (48.2%) but similar to 2015/16 (33.4%).” … “The proportion of adults who had used a public library service at least once a month has decreased from 24.3% in 2005/06 to 16.0% in 2016/17″ … “Since data were first collected, public library use has been significantly higher for females than males. In 2016/17, 38.3% of females had used a public library service in the 12 months prior to interview compared with 29.6% of males.” … “Unlike other cultural sectors, public library use is higher for the Black and Minority Ethnic group than for the White ethnic group.” … “In 2016/17, public library use was highest in London (39.9%) and lowest in the North East (27.1%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (27.4%).” … “In 2016/17, 12.8% of adults had visited a library website in the 12 months prior to interview. This is significantly higher than the rate of 8.9% in 2005/06 but lower than the rate of 14.2% in 2015/16 and the high of 16.9% in 2012/13.””

This presentation using CIPFA figures shows UK library trends 2015/16.

Public libraries in England: basic dataset – Data.gov.uk. Simple details (authority, name of library, address) for every library in England.  “Static public libraries in England (statutory* and non-statutory) as on 1 July 2016. also includes libraries that were temporarily closed on that date, eg. for refurbishment. Publication of this basic dataset provides a definitive source of data on public libraries in England that everyone can point to and use. This dataset will form the basis of a wider core dataset for public libraries in England. Building on this initial exercise, we will look at existing data collection (largely focused on inputs and outputs) and also aim to capture data which covers outcomes and impacts and the wider variety of activities libraries undertake. This dataset has been validated by all 151 library services in England, but handling this quantity of data means the occasional error is possible. If you spot any errors or missing information, please library-data@culture.gov.uk.”

Spending

The figures below show a drop in spending of 38.6% from its peak in 2009/10 if one takes in to account inflation.  This is likely to be an exaggeration, however, as spending on staff salaries has been frozen (or nearly so: it has been 1% the year before last. 2% this) for the last five years and staffing represents a large percentage of overall library costs. If one ignores inflation completely, the decline from peak is more than halved at 18%. The true answer will likely be somewhere between the two figures. The figures are taken from the official Cipfa statistics.

A decline in usage is also seen in the USA, with the blame being given to technological change by Pew, but with others pointing out the decline in funding (Atlantic, April 2017).

 

Inflation is adjusted according to Bank of England calculator.

Inflation is adjusted according to Bank of England calculator.

 

Spot when austerity comes in

Spot when austerity comes in

Spending on public libraries in England

Year

Capital

£m

Revenue

£m

Total

£m

Inflation adjusted

£m

% of 2007/8

2007/8

71

870

941

1063

100

2008/9

100

890

992

1126

105.9%

2009/10

146

897

1043

1132

106.5%

2010/11

121

871

992

1023

96%

2011/12

140

820

960

960

90.5%

See this post (and comments) for an analysis of these figures. Here is another set of figures, taken from Cipfa figures and using Bank of England inflation calculator.

Total annual expenditure in England, inflation adjusted as percentage of 2012 spending

Total annual expenditure in England, inflation adjusted as percentage of 2012 spending

Changes in branch numbers

The following, taken from the Cipfa figures (based on returns from local authorities: they’re not independently audited) was put on Lis-pub-libs by Lionel Aldridge.  It is reproduced with his kind permission here.

Static Libraries open 10+hrs wk

Mobiles

2007-08

2012-13

Change

2007-08

2012-13

Change

London             370             352

-5%

              18

              10

-44%

Metros             713             647

-9%

              60

              28

-53%

Unitary & Counties

1,977

1,932

-2%

            331

            215

-35%

England

3,060

2,931

-8%

            409

            253

-38%

Scotland

            522

            516

-1%

              82

              65

-21%

Wales

            274

            269

-2%

              64

              38

-41%

Northern Ireland

           111

              98

-12%

              18

              24

33%

UK

         3,967

         3,814

-4%

            573

            380

-34%

Changes in book issues Contacts

Usage Public Library change in use

  • Source of above data is UK “Taking Part” Survey and Cipfa statistics.  With thanks to Tim Coates.
Decline from 2005/6 to Q1 2014

Decline from 2005/6 to Q1 2014

 

Statistics collected by Tim Coates. reproduced by permission

Statistics collected by Tim Coates. reproduced by permission

UKPublicDebt2

 So we have to cut libraries because of the National Debt?  See full article here.

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