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Initial figures published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy today show a 4.3% increase i...
Initial figures published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy today show a 4.3% increase in visits to UK public libraries in 2003/04 - up to almost 337 million visits - but a 6.5% decline in active borrowers for the same period. Book borrowing rates fell 5.5% to 341 million in 2003/04.

CIPFA Public Library Statistics 2003/04 Actuals, is an independent survey based on final accounts collated by CIPFA from all 208 local authorities in England, Scotland & Wales. The data suggests an increase in users using libraries for non-traditional reasons, such as internet use, emailing sessions and audio borrowing. In 2003/04, book stocks decreased by 3.7 million (3.3%) to 110.5 million books, but audio, visual, electronic and other stocks increased by 2.2% to 9.0 million. At the same time, book additions remained stable, but the survey shows a 6.3% increase in stocks other than books.

Local authorities spent a total of£1,061.8m on the provision of library services in the UK. Income from fines, fees and other sources totalled£111.2m, resulting in an 8.2% increase in overall net expenditure to£950.5m in 2003/04 - up by£72.3m on 2002/03.

Expenditure components in 2003/04 were:

53.6% - Employees (expenditure incurred on wages, salaries and other related costs)

12.7% - Other (expenditure on computing costs, transport and third party payments)

10.8% - Premises (all costs directly associated to the library buildings)

10.1% - Support service (includes apportionment for administrative buildings, central departments, central support services, central expenses, departmental admin, and executive cost of the department)

9.1% - Books (expenditure on reference, adult fiction, adult non fiction and childrens books)

3.7% - Other materials (includes expenditure on newspapers, periodicals, magazines, music sound recordings, talking books, videos and DVDs, CD-ROMS and software, on-line costs, and bookbinding)

Commenting on the latest statistics, Phillip Ramsdale, executive director of IPF, CIPFA's support services company, said:

'The report is heartening and hard evidence of the reversal in the decline of public library attendance. It is a testimony to the success of public library plans, which have helped libraries to focus on specific service standards and priorities. It is also positive endorsement of the effective way in which resources have been managed.'


1. Relevant details to accompany the press release:

Library users 2002-03 2003-04 % Change

Active Borrowers (thousands) 15,843 14,812 -6.5

Housebound Readers (thousands) 115 110 -4.3

Visits to Library Premises (thousands) 323,042 336,951 4.3

Visits per 1,000 Population 5,454 5,656 3.7

Requests for Specific Items (thousands) 7,860 8,934 13.7

Requests per 1,000 Population 133 150 13.0

Enquiries (thousands) 57,326 58,183 1.5

Enquiries per 1,000 Population 968 977 0.9

Stocks & Issues 2002-03 2003-04 % Change


Stock at end of year (thousands) 114,199 110,453 -3.3

Stock per 1,000 Population 1,928 1,854 -3.8

Annual Additions (thousands) 11,959 11,976 0.1

Additions per 1,000 Population 202 201 -0.4

Issues per year (thousands) 360,722 340,927 -5.5

Issues per Head of Population 6.09 5.72 -6.1

Audio, Visual, Electronic & Other Stock

Stock at end of year (thousands) 8,834 9,027 2.2

Annual Additions (thousands) 1,628 1,731 6.3

Issues per annum (thousands) 41,915 40,829 -2.6

2. The data is based on returns from all 208 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales.

3. Advance orders for the Public Library Statistics 2003-04 Actuals can be made by telephoning 020 8667 1144. Ask for Public Library Statistics. Hard Copy Price£85. Summary statistics are available from

4. IPF, the support services company of CIPFA, helps public sector managers manage their resources more effectively. We specialise in: financial advice and governance, property and asset management, the supply of information and expertise, and the provision of people with appropriate skills.

IPF aims to deliver the services of CIPFA in practice - with professional integrity and to a high technical and ethical standard.

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