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22nd October 2013 Sara Lock

How to encourage non-users into libraries

By: Javier Stanziola


Javier Stanziola presents an analysis of research carried out on library use, including demographics and reasons for use as well as recommendations for the future

1. Introduction

This research briefing interprets data and research on library users and non-users. It presents demographics for these groups, discusses reasons for using library services, barriers to use and makes recommendations on lines of action to pursue to increase and sustain use of library services.

1.1 On Data Sources

Most of the figures used for this briefing come from 'Taking Part', the national household survey on participation in the cultural sector, including libraries, museums and archives. With a rolling sample of up to 28,000 households per year in England, Taking Part is produced in line with the National Statistics protocols to give it added quality assurance. This means that it represents official national statistics on cultural participation and provides us with the best, most reliable and most representative data on use and non-use of libraries.

2. Summary: how to increase and sustain participation in libraries

46% of all adults in England visited a library at least once in 2006-07. 60% of them visited a library at least 12 times that year, amounting to more than 288 million visits in total. That same year, 72% of 11-15 year old children in England visited a library at least once. However, visits have decreased by close to 5% since 1997/98, with total book issues dropping by more than 30%. For non-users, negative perceptions of libraries are fairly deeply entrenched and there is a strong sense that libraries are ‘not for me’. Research on how to attract and maintain non-users to libraries suggests that in addition to improving the core and extended offers libraries provide, coordinated communications campaigns to re-brand and re-position libraries amongst a number of target groups are urgently needed.

Download the report to read more:
How to encourage non-users into libraries (PDF)

| Published:2013

Smart tags: libraries barriers

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