‘Significant reduction’ in Notts library use but no plans to close services

There has been a ‘significant reduction’ in the number of people using Nottinghamshire’s libraries – but there are no plans to close services.

By Anna Whittaker
Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:00 am

Councillors raised concerns about the future of the county’s libraries during the latest Nottinghamshire Council communities committee meeting.

Libraries were closed during lockdown, but reopened in April.

In his latest Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised large sums to ‘renovate, restore and revive’ public libraries.

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Mansfield Library, West Gate, Mansfield town centre.

Coun Elizabeth Williamson said: “I am pleased our opening hours have been extended post-Covid, but concerned about the problem of physical visits to our libraries.

“With 112,087 physical visits to our libraries, I have worries our library estate may not be fit for purpose as more residents go online.

“Will this council do a future report into increasing footfall in our libraries and look at bringing more services into our libraries and events?”

Derek Higton, communities service director said: “We are seeing a significant reduction in physical visits.

“Our assessment is it is in part due to the fact we’re still in the act of reopening all of our 58 libraries.

“In Nottinghamshire, our visit numbers have been largely stable.

“There is concern among a number of library users, despite our libraries being Covid safe, about visiting those kind of facilities.

“In Nottinghamshire, our return to normal operating is notably quicker than in many other parts of the country.”

Coun Glynn Gilfoyle said he hoped Mr Higton would ‘fight for libraries to remain open’.

Mr Higton said: “I suspect I am not breaking any confidence to say the current administration is absolutely committed to retaining the current network of physical libraries.”

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