Older, fewer and ‘overworked’ – Weston’s library books

The Town Hall library in Weston-super-Mare.

The Town Hall library in Weston-super-Mare. - Credit: Archant

Increasing pressure is being put on Weston-super-Mare’s library service due to the town’s growing population.

The Town Hall library in Weston-super-Mare.

The Town Hall library in Weston-super-Mare. - Credit: Archant

The library buys fewer new books than all but one library in England, and the situation is expected to get worse if it does not receive additional funding.

Data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy shows Weston’s books are issued around 5.8 times a year, compared to the England average of 3.3 times.

The library buys 57.9 books per 1,000 people every year. The England average is 145 books per 1,000 people.

Figures show the library also has the lowest quantity of books, at 844 per 1,000 people, compared to 1,452 per 1,000 people across England.

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Books in Weston are generally 10.9 years old, compared to the England average of 8.7 years.

Library budgets set by North Somerset Council have remained at the same level for a number of years, but a growing number of residents are using its services.

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The findings come from a council report, asking a prospective housing developer to give the library £6,131 to pay for new adult paperbook and hardback fiction books and electronic books.

The council’s report says: “Contributions will be particularly targeted at improving adult paperback and hardback fiction stocks, and will be purchased from titles published or republished in the three years pre and three years post the date of this agreement being triggered and funds received.

“Failure to provide library and information services contributions will place an increased pressure upon existing service points, with a corresponding reduction in levels of service, choice and availability of titles to both existing and new library users.”

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