Libraries lead the way

Published: 03 Dec 2018

The latest library user figures reveal that Hertfordshire County Council’s libraries are more popular than some of the country’s top tourist attractions.


According to information recorded from the last financial year of 2017/18 released this month, there were more than 3.5m visits to the county’s libraries, with a further 2.2m accessing library services online. In comparison, the Science Museum had 3.25m, Tower of London 2.84m and Stonehenge 1.58m*.


The popularity of Hertfordshire’s libraries is due to the wide range of events and activities for young and old alike; from baby rhyme time and toddler talks to coding clubs for youngsters and IT pop in sessions for older people. Other events such as the hugely successful summer reading challenge, where over 20,000 children took part, and slipper swap sessions continue to make libraries feel like community hubs, where like-minded people can meet, learn new skills and get involved with a project.


Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said:


“We know how important libraries are to our residents, which is why, with the support of local communities and many dedicated volunteers, we want to continue to deliver and develop new services in libraries that embrace the digital age and the community.


“Our libraries are not only a place to borrow books, they are a hub for local arts, culture and heritage, and a place where people can develop new skills and create new support and social networks.


“What makes Hertfordshire Libraries so special is the diverse range of services that they provide; if you take a look at the event listings on our website you’ll see a whole range of events that cater to all ages and various interests/hobbies. You might event spot something that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a library hosting, for example, special Christmas theatre events and craft sessions.”


With continued pressures on budgets across the council, we launched a consultation earlier in the year to get residents’ and library users’ views on proposals to operate our library service in a different way.


Cllr Douris, added:


“The reason we are going through this process is to ensure we can keep delivering the library services residents love, despite pressures to make savings on budget.”


A procurement process to choose the new provider for our library services will begin in spring 2019.


To find out more about what’s on offer at your local library, go to