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The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (Cipfa) annual survey of British libraries has found that cuts to local authority funding have led to the loss of 17 per cent of library branches.
In 2009/10, 24,000 salaried staff were employed in libraries, in 2018/19, this number had fallen to 15,300, alongside more than 51,000 volunteers. As a consequence, the number of library visits has fallen from 315 million in 2009/10 to 226 million in 2018/19.
Cipfa chief executive Rob Whiteman commented on the figures: ‘This is the shape of today’s local authorities. As the country prepares to go to the polls, candidates should be having honest conversations with the public about the role of local government, and the future of lower priority services such as libraries.’
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