Library use falls

Library users are borrowing fewer books from Clutha district libraries.

Over the past six years, the district's five libraries have reported a consistent drop in the number of books issued.

When comparing the 2003-04 year to the last financial year, 45,041 fewer titles were borrowed.

The number of loans issued in the 2003-04 year was 221,955 across all libraries but dropped off each year to last year's total of 176,914.

Clutha library/service centre manager Vicki Darling, in a report to a recent Clutha District Council corporate services committee meeting, said there had been a trend of "slightly declining" loans over the past six years.

The figures had "trended down" between 2.2% and 3.8%, although there was a 10% drop in the 2006-07 year.

The libraries had introduced strategies over the past four years to try to arrest the decline.

These had included sharing stock to ensure newer items are available at all branches, removing unused items, extending the new book displays, encouraging people, especially children, to visit their local library and monthly displays.

Mrs Darling said British research showed the average time library users spend in the library is between just three and seven minutes.

"This means many people make their reading selections very quickly. Our own observation has backed this up, with some users focusing their selection on the new book displays and recent return trolleys."

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