VISITS to Solihull libraries soared by 70,000 last year despite cuts to their budget.
Over 1.2milllion users passed through the doors of libraries in the borough during 2011-2012, research by Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, CIPFA, has revealed.
The figure was the highest for the past four years and a six per cent increase on the previous year, with 71,705 more visitors.
Yet while visits increased, libraries budgets were slashed from £5.2m in 2008/9 to an estimated £4.3m last year with full-time staffing roles falling from 113 to 87.
Despite the cuts, Solihull’s expenditure on libraries remains higher than many other local authorities, with last year’s budget still 31 per cent above the average.
Councillor Kate Wild, cabinet member for community services, said: “It is encouraging that CIPRA’s figures have shown that there are lots of people using Solihull’s libraries on a regular basis.
“With the introduction of new technology and despite recently making significant staff savings, the value and level of investment afforded to our libraries can only contribute to their continuing popularity.”