LGA responds to first annual Libraries Week

"Our libraries were visited 250 million times in 2016/17 – more than visits to Premier League football games, the cinema, and the top 10 UK tourist attractions combined."


In response to the launch of the first annual Libraries Week (9-14 October), Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:

“Our libraries were visited 250 million times in 2016/17 – more than visits to Premier League football games, the cinema, and the top 10 UK tourist attractions combined.

“There is a fantastic amount of creativity and ambition among library staff, councils and their communities to make the very best of resources.

“Libraries are working closely with local and national authors to foster new talent, inspiring others to read and write, with more than 750,000 children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge 2016. They also continue to provide a range of titles to suit all tastes, including from the likes of most-borrowed authors James Patterson and Mary Berry.

“Libraries Week is also an opportunity to demonstrate how our libraries are playing an increasingly important role as community hubs, empowering local people to use a wide variety of services from homework clubs to public health clinics and business advice centres. They are also a place to help residents and businesses boost their digital skills, access free wifi and get them online, with all the extra economic and social benefits which these bring.

“Despite local government facing a funding gap of £5.8 billion by 2019/20, councils will continue to work with their local communities to the best of their abilities to provide services that are important to them.”

Case studies

Hertfordshire County Council

Health days, reading groups, interactive story-times, quiz nights and author talks are just some of the events taking place this week in Hertfordshire CC’s libraries.

These include free health advice and blood pressure checks at Bushey library on Tuesday 10 October between 11am-1pm, a health and wellbeing event at Cheshunt library the same day between 11am-2pm, a braille story time at Harpenden library on Saturday 14 October at 11am and the official opening of the new Berkhamsted Library.

Newcastle City Council

A Reading Well Collection for adults and young people will be on display in City Library, Newcastle on Tuesday 10 October, followed by a Newcastle History Tour and talk with author Ken Hutchinson on Thursday 12 and an opportunity to find out how to best use video and animation to support your business with a ‘Make Video Work for You’ workshop on Friday 13.

Norfolk County Council

Norfolk residents are being encouraged to discover more about their local library during Libraries Week, working on the theme of Discovery. These include storytelling sessions with author Liam Carroll, visits by the Book Doctor who can prescribe new reading material to help people discover new reads, book clubs, colouring clubs, baby bounce and rhyme time, library olympics, mini-movers, tablet sessions and health activities including new walking groups.

City of Wolverhampton Council

Among the many events taking place during this week include a check-and-send service for people who wish to apply for or renew blue badges, which will be taking place at East Park Library from 9am-1pm on Tuesday 10 October. Digital champions from Lloyds Bank will also be on hand to help people get online and improve their computer skills at Central Library on Wednesday 11 October, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Leicestershire County Council

Health and wellbeing sessions, coding clubs and digital drop-ins to help with IT skills are among the events on offer during Libraries Week in Leicestershire.

London Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Kingston will be celebrating Libraries Week with a talk on lost libraries in history, an Oscar Wilde play reading, a tour of one of their historic libraries and much more. There will also be a science-fiction themed augmented reality exhibition at New Malden Library up until 14 October, where visitors can use their smartphone or tablet to interact with videos, articles and games.

Notes to editors

Libraries Week takes place across the UK from 9-14 October, encouraging everyone to discover what their library can do for them - from play and learning, to managing health, to accessing wifi and games, to finding a job, a hobby or starting a business. To find out more, visit the Libraries Week website.