Andrew Garfield is using his public library – are you?

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It's use it or lose it crunch time for British libraries as visitor numbers fall...

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© Flickr/twechy

Andrew Garfield was pictured this week leaving his local public library to pick up a spot of reading – but is he alone?

Research carried in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Taking Part survey has found that 60.8% of us didn't visit a library between June 2011 and June 2012.

The annual report, which looks into how the British public engage with leisure activities, shows that 39.2% of us visited a library in the last year. A fall of nearly 10% since 2006.

With the number of books and e-books being sold in the UK on the up – local libraries are getting forgotten and are facing ongoing cuts and closures across the country.

It is estimated by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP) that over the next twelve months more than 1,100 library staff will be lost, and that 1,720 opening hours a week will be cut.

Their latest research also suggests £22.5 million in revenue expenditure will be reduced from public library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

'Communities, families and individuals across the country are at the sharp end as cuts bite deeply into public library services,' explained Phil Bradley, President of CILIP.

'We are deeply concerned to see the number of staff continuing to reduce. Over the past two years we estimate that nearly 3,300 library staff posts will have gone. Without their expertise, knowledge and experience it will be a struggle to plan and deliver quality library services.

Services that go way beyond lending books alone, services that transform lives by providing everyone with opportunities for learning, improving literacy skills, helping people with their information needs and fostering the growth of knowledge.'

Back in 2004 the BBC reported that libraries would be out of use by 2020 - as that date draws closer, could they be right?

We want to know what you think. Do you use your local library? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag


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