Fewer books on the shelves in our libraries

Expenditure on new books is dropping
Expenditure on new books is dropping

North Lanarkshire libraries have cut spending on new books by more than those in any other Scottish local authority area.

CultureNL, the council-run company operating local libraries, reported that its expenditure on new books has dropped by £179,000, or 41%, over three years.

However, a spokesman for CultureNL defended its performance, saying: “The figures quoted are the Public Finance Accountants returns and it should be understood that only traditional hardback or paperbacks are counted, not ebooks.

“In the year end March 31 2014 the library service invested around £6,000 of funding into our then new e-books service and that funding is not recorded by CIPFA as book funding. A further investment of £17,000 has recently been made to enhance and diversify this service to include both ebooks and magazines.

“Previous years saw additional monies allocated to the purchase of books through special one-off funding arrangements.

“Due to the changing market in DVD and console games where downloads are now becoming more popular, the income previously derived from those items has significantly reduced. Allied also to our introduction of customer friendly online services such as the ability to renew books we have seen fines income drop too. Any shortfall in income requires to be balanced by a reduction in expenditure.

“The library service has also introduced evidence-based stock management which over the period has identified and targeted stock which is no longer in demand and this has led to a reduction in overall stock totals.”