Are our public libraries being forgotten? "Use them or lose them" says new online library service
Despite reports of possible library closures, 60% of us are still not visiting our local libraries, according to research conducted by Bookmark Your Library, a new online service promoting the use of libraries in the UK, launched today.
The survey of 2000 people found that almost half of those surveyed said libraries aren't needed as much as they were a decade ago due to technological advances with the internet, tablets and Kindles.
However, when asked how they would feel if their local library shut down, one in five admitted they would be very disappointed, and one in ten said it would be a loss to the local community.
Almost three quarters of us have been to our local library at some point in our lives, but on average the last time we visited our local library was 17 months ago. The biggest driving force to visit a library is being a parent, with 14% saying they last visited their library to encourage their child into reading and 8% went to help a child with a school project.
Elisabeth Robinson, from Bookmark Your Library, an online service launched today to promote the use of libraries and raise awareness of what they can offer, said: “Local libraries used to be the cornerstone of many British towns and cities, but despite libraries across the country offering a diverse range of services, these appear to be unknown to a large proportion of the country.”
“The problem lies with a lack of general knowledge on the services that they offer and how precious a resource they really are. With Bookmark Your Library, our goal is to help promote the services of libraries around the country – as they provide support to everyone.”
Only a third know that their local library offers reading groups; only 1 in 10 know they offer genealogy services; and 60% didn’t know they offer music rental, something which was introduced to the majority of public libraries years ago.
Elisabeth continued: “Our libraries are a national institution, free to use, and they are not just about books, there's lots more available in terms of services such as ebooks, free access to computers and the internet for example. People tend to use libraries when they are young, when they have kids and when they get older. People shouldn't forget they are there in the intervening years. Our message is simple; use them or lose them forever.”
If you aren't already a member of your local library then you can use Bookmark Your Local Library to find your local library and join in.