Public Libraries

House of Lords written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of The Earl of Clancarty The Earl of Clancarty Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many public libraries have been closed since the formation of the coalition Government, including those now run on a volunteer basis; and how many have been opened.

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many public libraries were closed in each year since 1980, including those now run on a volunteer basis, and how many have been opened.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Central government do not produce data on the number of public libraries that have been closed or opened each year. Data about the public library sector are published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Their annual statistics do not provide the number of openings or closures, or the number of libraries that have transferred from the public library service to community-management; but instead show the net figure of public libraries open in each year.

Data showing the number of public library service points in England, in each available year since 1979-80, are set out in the table below.

Financial year Libraries open 10+ hrs per week (incl. mobiles) Libraries open <10 hrs per week (incl. mobiles) Total Libraries
1979-80 3,646 265 3,911
1980-81 3,578 252 3,830
1981-82 3,584 235 3,819
1982-83 3,598 241 3,839
1983-84 3,603 207 3,810
1984-85 3,526 212 3,738
1985-86 3,572 190 3,762
1986-87 3,429 203 3,632
1987-88 3,500 220 3,720
1988-89 3,416 178 3,594
1989-90 4,161 417 4,578
1990-91 3,660 161 3,821
1991-92 3,650 154 3,804
1992-93 3,640 142 3,782
1993-94 3,630 144 3,774
1994-95 3,628 145 3,773
1995-96 3,609 124 3,733
1996-97 3,572 120 3,692
1997-98 3,532 121 3,653
1998-99 3,504 150 3,654
1999-00 3,501 132 3,633
2000-01 3,497 130 3,627
2001-02 3,504 115 3,619
2002-03 3,510 91 3,601
2003-04 3,524 80 3,604
2004-05 3,474 96 3,570
2005-06 3,500 73 3,573
2006-07 3,494 86 3,580
2007-08 3,469 96 3,565
2008-09 3,451 91 3,542
2009-10 3,428 73 3,501
2010-11 3,393 76 3,469

Where information has not been supplied by authorities for CIPFA's Public Library Statistics, the figures have been grossed by CIPFA to account for missing data and-or non-responding authorities.

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