As new figures released show that almost 800 libraries in the UK have closed since 2010, Salford has contested the trend with all 16 libraries remaining open.

The survey by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (Cipfa), quoted in The Guardian that there are 3,583 libraries still open in the UK which is 35 less than last year.

Luckily for Salford, it has been fortunate enough to avoid any closures with all 16 libraries across the city remaining open.

Since 2010 the country has seen 773 libraries closed and taken away from the community.

The closure of libraries takes away the shared space for community members.

With libraries often being used for the likes of coffee morning, events and a social hub for many it leaves a gap in the community.

According to figures quoted in The Guardian from CIPFA: “The closure of almost a fifth of the UK’s libraries over the last 10 years comes against a backdrop of a 29.6% decline in spend”.

This comes after we have also seen a decrease in the amount of national spending on services with spending in 2009/10 at £1bn in but last year saw it sat at under £750m.

The statistics by Cipfa show that there were 226m visits to libraries over the last year a drop compared with the 315m in 2009/2010.

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Chris Farey, head of libraries at Salford Community Leisure, which operates Salford Libraries, says: “It’s very sad news when you hear of library cuts and closures across the UK.

“Libraries are such an important and accessible resource for everyone in the community.

“For some they are a lifeline, providing books, somewhere to study, the use of the internet and a social outlet.

“We are incredibly lucky here in Salford as our 16 friendly libraries have remained open.

“We’ve actually increased access and improved our library facilities in the last few years when we know other areas have been unable to do the same.

“We have more than 40,000 active members, look after the library needs of schools and have a robust and exciting events diary which includes many free and extremely affordable activities such as under-5s storytimes, reading groups,  film screenings, computer training, business advice, craft sessions, local history events, activities for people with dementia, and much more.”

An information stand inside the library. Image Credit: Lily Harris

“We run an outreach service for people unable to access their local library, pop up libraries at our museums and we are developing a ‘click and collect’ book collection facility at leisure centres.

“We want people to be able to access our services around their busy schedules. We’ve hosted book launches, theatre shows, and author events.

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“We have an impressive team of volunteers and we’ve even managed to scrap fines for the late return of books”.

Image Credit: Lily Harris

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