Library visits on the rise as a third of residents have membership

Friday September 8th 2023

Dalkeith Library

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The number of visits to libraries in Midlothian has risen by over two-thirds in the last year with one in three residents owning a membership card.

A new report on customer engagement revealed that people are returning to libraries in their thousands with physical visits seeing a huge increase and virtual visits remaining high.

A meeting of Midlothian Council’s cabinet was told work had been done to boost library services with promotions which had seen increased demand.

The council’s executive business manager Saty Kaur said libraries allowed people to find help from a range of council services when they came to visit.

She told the meeting: “The benefits of physical visits to the libraries is that we can then provide help as a first point of contact for other council queries which is the aim of hub and one stop shop approach which is key to the decentralisation of our services.”

In total 132, 510 physical library visits were recorded in the first quarter of this year compared to 81, 688 over the same period last year.

Virtual visits during the same period were 37,934 compared to 44,243.

The number of people with a library membership is 33,384 which is equivalent to just under a third of Midlothian’s population.

More than 1,300 events were held in Midlothian libraries between April and June as well as nearly 900 children’s events.

Councillors welcomed the increased use of the library hailing it as a ‘success story’ for the service.

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