The latest figures from CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) for public library usage in Wales in 2009-10 show that:
- Total library visits rose from 13,960,000 in 2008/09 to 14,717,000 in 2009/10 – up 5.4%
- No of active borrowers rose from 645,000 to 681,000 – up 5.6%
- Total hours of free computer use in libraries by the public are estimated at 2,098,240 hours – making an important contribution to digital inclusion.
- The busiest library in Wales is again Swansea Central Library with 590,552 issues and 485,895 visits, closely followed by Cardiff Central Library with 575,143 issues and 439,857 visits.
- Both Swansea and Cardiff are in the top 10 of UK libraries for most items issued to borrowers.
- Library visits in Wales compare favourably with the rest of the UK. In Wales they are up 5.4% compared with the previous year, Northern Ireland are also up 8.4% but the number of visits England are down by 1.6% and visits in Scotland are also down by 1.4%.
During a visit to Y Llynfi Library in Maesteg today (Wednesday, 3 November), the Minister said the increase in visitors are signs that libraries in Wales continue to be valued by the community.
"These figures show that libraries in Wales still play a valuable role and it’s testament to the investment made by local authorities to ensure they continue to offer an invaluable service to their communities," he said.
Y Llyfni Library in Maesteg received a £100,000 grant from the Assembly Government as part of its Libraries for Life programme. In recent years around 68 public libraries have received grant funding mostly via the Welsh Assembly Government’s Libraries for Life strategic programme to modernise or develop new facilities.
Y Llynfi Library is located in part of a Grade 2 Listed building, which formed part of an old iron works, with a new extension added to the rear. It shares a building with Maesteg Leisure Centre.
"I am pleased to see that community groups and other services are taking advantage of the modern and attractive facilities in the Library. Local historians, Welsh learners and job seekers who use the new ICT suite are among the new groups benefitting," Mr Jones said.
Libraries for Life is a three year (2008 – 2011) £10.5million programme which aims to attract more people to use libraries through providing improved facilities and services at libraries throughout Wales. It supports two One Wales commitments to develop, promote and modernise the public library network and to develop the use of information technology in libraries.