Number of borrowers at Wolverhampton libraries dwindling

Visitors to libraries in Staffordshire and Wolverhampton have fallen in the past year, but numbers to Sandwell and Dudley are on the increase, latest figures have shown.

The number of people who visited libraries in Sandwell in the last 12 months soared by five per cent. From January to December last year, 1,763,925 people went through the doors at sites in the borough.

This compares to the 1,671,615 people who visited in 2011. Meanwhile, in Dudley in 2011-12 there were 1,202,000 visits, up from 1,201,850 in 2010-11.

There were also 231,929 online visits in 2011/12.

However, in Wolverhampton, a total number of 1,295,229 visited in 2011 compared to 1,189,383 in 2012 and Staffordshire County Council said library visits countywide from January to December 2012 were 4,071,398 compared to 2011, which were 4,313, 256.

However, the number of online members increased in the county last year. Between January and December 2012 1,735 people joined the library online, compared with 1,082 for the same period last year, an increase of 60 per cent.

In Wolverhampton libraries at Warstones, Ashmore Park and Spring Vale are being moved. Collingwood Library, in Bushbury, will be relocated as a self-service facility.

Irene Dodd, secretary of Ashmore Park Residents Association which is a battling to save the library there, said she was shocked at the drop in visitor numbers across the area.

"This is a surprise as the libraries in this area always seem to be very well used and are an incredibly important part of any community. ," she said.

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley's cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: "Our libraries are growing more popular each year because of the wide range of services they offer."

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