Bid to boost Sheffield library membership after figures show fall in book borrowing

Parson Cross Library.
Parson Cross Library.
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A new scheme has been launched aimed at boosting library membership after figures revealed a fall in book borrowing across Sheffield.

More than 166, 000 people are already members of the city's 28 libraries - but Sheffield Council is encouraging even more people to join in the fun by getting a library card.

Elijah and Eva.

Elijah and Eva.

As part of the ‘Discover More' campaign existing members who may not have visited a library for a while are also urged to reconnect with their love of books.

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Sheffield Council released details about the campaign today.

This comes just a day after the Sheffield Star revealed book lending at the city’s 16 volunteer-run libraries has dropped by about 57 per cent in the last four years.

The statistics, revealed using the Freedom of Information Act, showed there were 497, 934 books borrowed from the 16 libraries while they were still council-run in the financial year 2013/14.

But since the council handed them over to be run by volunteers in a cost-cutting measure that figure has dropped to 213, 469 for the financial year 2017/18.

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The authority stressed the figures do not capture all book loans and pointed out there has been a decline in library visits nationally.

And today they highlighted all of the wonderful things going on at the libraries as part of the 'Discover More' campaign.

The council said library membership grants access to more than half a million printed books on stock, plus free eBooks, eMagazines, film, computers and events ranging from lectures to baby groups.

Two youngsters who recently took advantage of fun activities at libraries were Eva, aged eight, and Elijah, aged five, of Millhouses.

They enjoyed taking part in a two-hour computer coding session at Sheffield Children's Library in which Eva said: “It made me feel happy seeing my imagination on the computer.”

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at the council, said: “What we all love about libraries is that they’re truly at the centre of our communities."

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Members of the public are directed to sign up online at www.sheffield.gov.uk/librarycard which also gives details about upcoming events, how to sign up for ebulletins and library apps.

Library membership application forms also come in 15 different languages.