• Councillors to review library performance

Tomorrow the councillors who oversee Hertfordshire’s library service will meet to review half-yearly performance – and they will hear how it is on course to meet its targets.

While physical visits have increased slightly, a big increase in the number of people using online services has also been recorded.

According to reports circulated in advance, they will learn that in the period between April to September 2013:

  • Libraries are on course to meet new targets set to combat a falling-off in use after opening hours were cut in 2011.
  • Physical library visits are projected to increase by 0.9 per cent while online library visits are projected to increase by 41.6 per cent.
  • Library issues are projected to increase by 1.5 per cent and new library members are projected to increase by 5.5 per cent.
  • However, the number of active borrowers, defined as people who make at least one visit and borrow one item in a year, has fallen slightly. This figure does not currently include online users.
  • The annual Summer Reading Challenge enjoyed its most successful year ever in 2013, with 18,472 children participating (an 18.1 per cent increase on 2012).

The report also shows how virtual library use as a proportion of total library use has risen from 14.7 per cent in 2012/13 to 19.4 per cent in the period under consideration, as virtual visits have increased more rapidly than physical visits.

It says: “Performance figures for April to September 2013 show encouraging signs that the decline in library usage in the immediate aftermath of reduced opening hours has been halted, and that usage is beginning to increase.

“It looks likely that performance targets for 2013/14 will be achieved.”

You can download and read the full report by visiting the council website here.

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