Covid accelerates fall in Peterborough library users

The number of library users in Peterborough has plummeted in the past year - but the fall was already beginning pre-coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 1:00 pm
Central Library in Peterborough
Central Library in Peterborough

The number of active users across the city’s 10 libraries was 30,846 in 2016/17.

This dropped to 25,521 in 2019/20, before falling markedly to 6,424 in 2020/21.

All 10 libraries closed in March 2020 during lockdown, as well as the mobile library service.

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Four re-opened in the middle of August with a restricted service.

During the second lockdown in November only one library remained open, offering a ‘Select & Collect’ service and restricted computer access to the public on alternate days and reduced hours.

Four more libraries re-opened at the start of January this year, with the rest throwing open their doors from April 12 .

Figures show there is a mixed picture with regards to the number of physical and e-loans carried out at the libraries.

For the former, the number dropped from 476,638 in 2016/17 to 390,684 in 2019/20 before plummeting to 39,756 last year.

For the latter, the number rose from 10,403 in 2016/17 to 46,253 in 2019/20 before rising again to 72,913 last year.

Library services in Peterborough were being run by Vivacity before the not-for-profit trust collapsed during the pandemic.

They are now being run by City Culture Peterborough.