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Healthy use at the library last year

Healthy use at the library last year

Monday 12 February 2024

Healthy use at the library last year

Monday 12 February 2024


The Guille-Allès Library had a strong year in 2023, with footfall, book loans, and membership all up.

Visits to the Market Square-based library jumped to 162,000 which was 6.5% and 8% higher than 2022 and the five-year average before the pandemic respectively.

The public library said these numbers are “substantially” higher than average visits per capita in the UK. 

Books loans also rose to 176,556, with a 25% increase in library members over the past half-decade. 

Over 18,500 now hold library cards.   

The most popular book was Richard Osman’s ‘The Bullet That Missed’, while most children flocked to read ‘The Highway Rat’ by Julia Donaldson.  

There was also a record number of entries into the children’s summer reading challenge. 

Highlights 

  • Winning an award for 2022’s Boundless Curiosity exhibition – celebrating 140 years of the library. 

  • Skateboarding in the library for the first time, as part of the inaugural sports day. 

  • Sold out quiz nights. 

  • Retirement of Senior Assistant Ann Goulding in June after 49-years of service.  

  • Highest monthly figure for over a decade in August, with 18,000 visits. 

  • Higher customer satisfaction levels than 2022.  

  • 313 child activity sessions. 

  • 7,000 attendees to Literary Festival events.  

  • 800 passport photos sold.  

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The FAB lab was well used last year, which offers facilities for digital design, printing, 3D printing, crafting and sublimation. 

Businesses and charities used the service - including the Tennis Club - to create bunting and flags for the Island Games.  

Stories on USB sticks were made possible through a charitable grant with 28 active users who are visually impaired now benefitting from free audiobooks. 

Busking kits for musicians were also available to borrow alongside advice on how to gain a permit for street performances.   

New events launched such as a seed library, a creative writing course, and a Saturday board games day. 

These are hoped to be repeated annually. 

These complemented an existing programme with school outreach events, services at Guernsey Prison, and care home tea and tales. 

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Cornelia James, Chief Librarian, said “such strong usage figures are very pleasing, and of course they are more than just numbers – each visit and each loan make a difference in people’s lives, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in transformative ways.  

“From young children falling in love with reading in the Children’s Library, to students camping out in the Hayward Room to revise for their A-levels, to older people learning how to FaceTime their grandchildren at one of our IT Help sessions – libraries change lives. 

“I am very lucky to have an incredible team of skilled and passionate staff, who I know will always strive to meet that need, and to deliver the library service that this community deserves."

This year the library is hoping to continue raising its profile, with a dedicated app to launch to allow catalogue browsing and managing library accounts. The public computers will also be upgraded thanks to a charity grant. 

The Roswell rooms will also be converted into new meeting rooms and provide additional space for classes. 

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