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Surrey Libraries – the Second Most Visited in the UK

Published on: 5 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 8 Sep, 2022

Surrey libraries are the second most visited in the country according to the latest UK Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) data, with the figures showing the libraries attracted over 550,000 visits last year.

CIPFA surveyed residents as part of the findings, with questions ranging from the overall customer experience, satisfaction with the quality of book stock, and the role libraries play in combating loneliness and isolation.

97 per cent of respondents said they received good or very good standard of care when visiting Surrey’s libraries, whilst 83 per cent felt the choice of books on offer was either good or very good (with a further 93 per cent happy with the physical condition of the books).

The results also reinforced the important role libraries play in their communities, with 62 per cent of those surveyed who felt lonely saying libraries help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The findings from the CIPFA survey reflect the broadening appeal of Surrey’s libraries and emphasise that modern libraries provide more to residents than just books. They have become a place for performances, workshops and exhibition spaces and offer a myriad of services including free digital access for those without access to a computer.

Below are some examples of what libraries have been providing over and above their core service offerings:

  • A year-long partnership with Farnham Maltings has resulted in libraries being a space for some exciting creative events to be staged, exhibited and performed, extending the reach and accessibility of cultural experiences.
  • Ensuring that no one is left behind libraries have been the backbone of delivering Surrey’s Period Dignity campaign with period products available to be collected for free or donated at all 52 libraries.
  • Libraries are there for all people in the community and have been welcoming families from Ukraine ensuring books in Ukrainian and Russian are available on their shelves. Young Ukrainians have been able to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge thanks to translated materials provided in Ukrainian and Russian.
  • This summer during the Jubilee weekend there were 85 Jubilee events and 46 Big Lunches hosted in Surrey libraries as an opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate – to ensure everyone had an opportunity to join up and join in with their community.

Sue Wills MBE assistant director for Art, Culture, Heritage and Libraries said “This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve come a long way in terms of the diversity of services that libraries can offer.

“This is an exciting period of transformation for our much-loved Surrey Libraries where spaces are re-imagined to deliver a place where social, educational, economic, and cultural activities can be made accessible to all in the community, often free of charge. It’s not the physical building that changes it’s what’s happening inside at the heart of the building that changes.”

To find out more visit the Surrey Libraries web pages. Libraries – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

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