The decline in adult book lending in UK public libraries and its possible causes

Douglas J.C. Grindlay (Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough,UK)
Anne Morris (Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough,UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 1 December 2004

Abstract

Annual book issues from UK public libraries have been decreasing since 1980, due mainly to decreases in issues of adult fiction and, to a lesser extent, adult non‐fiction. This paper describes an analysis of trends from 1980 to 1998 in annual book issues and selected factors that may have caused their decrease. Simple linear regressions were used to test predictors of issues over this period. The factors studied were: decreased funding of public libraries and library book stocks; reductions in opening hours and numbers of public libraries; increased personal affluence and leisure opportunities; and increased book purchases by readers. Significant regression relationships were found between annual book issues and all the factors studied. However, book issues showed the closest relationship to personal spending power, as measured by real households' disposable income, which explained over 96 per cent of the variation in issues. This compared with 92 per cent of the variation in issues being explained by the number of libraries open 45 hours per week, 80 per cent by real consumer spending on books and just 60 per cent by real book spend in public libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Grindlay, D. and Morris, A. (2004), "The decline in adult book lending in UK public libraries and its possible causes", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 60 No. 6, pp. 632-657. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220410410568133

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Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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