WORCESTER’S Hive library is in the top 10 for visitors nationwide and in the top three for issues according to new figures.
Despite a £66million fall in public spending on libraries in the last 12 months, the city’s landmark building recorded 725,630 visitors in 2016-17.
And those bookworms from the city and beyond played their part in ensuring The Hive was in the top three libraries in England, Scotland and Wales for issues with a staggering 800,547 books lent in the same period.
The Hive was only beaten by Carlisle and the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library in annual results, released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, CIPFA.
Worcestershire’s libraries are also feeling the benefit of the rise with the CIPFA figures revealing a rise of nearly 60,000 visitors this year.
The figures across the county show an increase in visits from 2,770,023 in 2015/16 up to 2,827,561 in 2016/17, a rise of 57,538.
By comparison, the West Midlands as a whole saw a decrease in visits by 1.5 per cent and across England, the visitor numbers dropped by 3.1 per cent.
With 21 libraries across the six districts, Worcestershire has taken the top spot when compared with other parts of the country with the highest number of visits per 1,000 residents living in the county.
It also ranked in the top 20 for the number of volunteers, with a total of 406 playing a pivotal role in ensuring library services continue to run smoothly.
Coun Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Localism and Communities, said: “These results are outstanding and a real reflection of the commitment and energy given by the Library Services team to make our libraries such a success.
“Our libraries have so much to offer residents, businesses and visitors to the county from free books, to courses in creative writing and booking a holiday online.
As well as a £66million drop in spending on council-run libraries, CIPFA claim paid staff numbers fell by five per cent with 105 fewer libraries.
Rob Whiteman, CIPFA chief executive, said: “Cuts in local authority funding are forcing councils to make difficult choices about which services they can afford.
“Unfortunately for libraries and library users, this is a low hanging fruit that continues to be picked.
“But, it isn’t all doom and gloom, as libraries are continuing to modernise while volunteer numbers have increased, proving that libraries remain an important community asset.”