Rolling annual number of visitors to libraries operated by or on behalf of Shropshire Council.
Overall visitor numbers to libraries are slowly declining and follows a long term decline which has been experienced by library authorities across the country. Key challenges to libraries has been the change of reading habits with easy access to electronic reading devices, reduced demand for reference services with easy access to information and news services via search engines.
When comparing the same period last year there has been a decrease in visitor numbers from 918,755 Q4 18/19 to 855,405 Q419/20. This represents a 6.9% reduction on the previous year.
Libraries mostly remained open during the February floods but visitor numbers were significantly down particularly for the largest branch at Shrewsbury. All Libraries were then closed from the 20th March Libraries continue to offer a range of online services, which have been strengthened and remain fully available. There has been increased use of e-books, e-audiobooks and other online resources. The Libraries website now has a ‘Libraries from Home’ page which brings together our online services and signposts to other resources to support people during the covid crisis. As a service the team have generated online content to share via social media (e.g. video Rhyme Times, online Manga art courses). A number of library staff have also been re-deployed to the Community Reassurance Teams that are offering local support where it’s needed .