Users double in five years

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THE number of people using computers in Wigan libraries has more than doubled in the last five years.

A total of 220,176 people are now logging on to the borough’s People’s Network - an increase of 125 per cent from 175,574 in 2006.

While the overall number of people visiting libraries has increased from 1,190,810 in 2006/07 to 1,320,262 last financial year, visitor numbers for 2010/11 were slightly down on 2009/10 due to refurbishment closures at Aspull and Leigh which were estimated to have caused a drop of 8,000 visitors.

Rob Sanderson from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which manages the libraries on behalf of Wigan Council, said: “We’ve seen significant improvement in the number of people using the borough’s libraries but there is still more work to do especially given the changes the library service is currently going through.”

In 2012, transformation of the borough’s library service will see the introduction of the new tiering system.

Introduced in response to austerity measures, the system is based on the supermarket approach of matching demand with location and will save £1m a year.

Wigan and Leigh will become Library Central locations, offering the greatest range of stock and activities and the longest opening hours - more than 50 hours per week.

Local library services, located at Ashton, Golborne, Hindley, Lamberhead Green, Standish and Tyldesley, will provide a strong community library offer, with opening hours of approximately 35 to 40 hours per week.

Convenience libraries, offering essential stock and services will be provided by the Library Express format.

This format will be provided at Aspull, Atherton, Ince Hope, Marsh Green, Platt Bridge and Shevington.

The final tier, Library Direct, will mark those services that can be accessed online and at home.

This will include ongoing improvements to the library service’s website, and the Home Delivery Service. Drop-off and pick-up points will also form part of this tier.