Library use on the up in Boston

IN MODERN times when internet is king and the world of literature is just a click away, it is easy to see why the number of people using local libraries may be on the decline.

But here in Boston it seems we are bucking the trend, as latest figures have shown the amount of new borrowers at libraries in Boston, Donington and Kirton have actually increased in the last five years.

In fact, the number of people registering at Boston Library has risen by almost 50 per cent - from 2048 to 2905.

The figures, revealed frollowing a Freedom of Information request by The Standard, also showed that the number of issues has decreased a little in the same five year period, but the county council, which runs the libraries, says that was because the centres now provide more than books, with items including DVDs and audio books on offer, as well as free access to the internet.

Coun Eddy Poll told The Standard: “It’s no surprise more people are making use of their local library. We’ve made a major investment in the service over the past decade.

“We’ve increased the number of computers at our sites, allowing more users access to the internet at any one time, and have introduced self-service technology at some of our busiest libraries, allowing staff to spend more time assisting customers. The result is a library service that has something to offer all residents.”

The number of issues at Boston Library has dropped from 172,961 in 2006, to 141,036 in 2010-11. The amount dipped to 132,806 in 2009-10, but increased again last year. At Donington library, the number of issues went from 25,337 in 2006 to 24,302, and the number at Kirton went from 26,651 to 25,033.

Yet in the same amount of time, the number of new borrowers at Donington rose from 131 to 154, and the number at Kirton increased from 155 to 267.

People of all ages are using the libraries to access information, from the very young to the elderly.

Jason Howard, headteacher at Boston High School, said the library was a hugely useful resource, especially for young people.

He added: “As a child I was able to cross continents, visit different worlds and travel in time from the safety of my bedroom, and free of charge, all thanks to my local library.

“Much educational research shows that the average child who can read before starting school stays at least a year ahead of his or her classmates all the way through.

“An awful lot of libraries have invested a great deal in computers, DVDs and other electronic equipment. Children today have access to e-readers like the Kindle, and there is something to be said for anything that encourages people to read.”