Published: Monday, 16th October 2017

September saw a record number of visitors using Royal Greenwich's library services.

National Library Week this year runs from 9 to 14 October and showcases all the creative, innovative and diverse activities that UK libraries have to offer.

Visitors to the borough's libraries topped 230,000 for the fifth month in a row - with big increases at West Greenwich, Woolwich, Charlton and prison libraries.

Stock issues were up 12 per cent across the borough as a whole - with children's books up a massive 22 per cent - the rise helped in part by the ever popular children's Summer Reading Challenge (SRC), and extended hours on Tuesday 'Library Lates'.

Investment in stock, free WiFi, self-service facilities and the Greenwich One Card are proving effective in meeting customer demand for a modern and relevant library service. Use of the Library's IT facilities has increased by 10 per cent.

Adult Non-Fiction continued to buck the national and London trend and went up by 14 per cent, on the back of imaginative promotions and stock displays - and book selections that customers want to read.

In Woolwich Library - which currently accounts for over half of all the borough's library visitors, the Children's Library now offers Reiki as part of the Wellbeing Wednesday activities which include Calming Colouring, Knit and Natter and two reading groups.

Summer Reading Challenge

In August, all libraries hosted events and activities to encourage children to read during the school holidays and more than 3,000 under 12s took part in the Summer Reading Challenge. The rise was assisted by libraries linking up with the borough's Children and Young People's team.

Language and cultural activities

Among the language and cultural activities offered are a new Yoruba group meeting each Wednesday and an insight into Japanese life through Teacher Training placements.

Volunteering opportunities

Opportunities to work in libraries have been offered to young volunteers through the 'Reading Hack' programme which provides two weeks of work experience including help for younger children to read.

'Welcoming places for the whole community'

Steve Hannen, Greenwich Leisure Limited's Head of Service for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: "We want our libraries to be welcoming places for the whole community to use and enjoy. September has seen record visitor numbers whether that's for accessing free WIFI, taking part in activities and events, doing homework or collecting their favourite read."

"We are particularly proud of the 17 per cent increase in young people completing our Summer Reading Challenge."

'Best services possible for residents'

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Wellbeing, said: "This is such a great achievement for our libraries in Greenwich. We are ensuring that our libraries meet the demands of the digital age through top class ICT provision and the introduction of advanced technologies such as tablets, high performance printers and scanners.

"We are committed to provide the best services possible for residents in Royal Greenwich and results like these show that we are breaking records."

'Took part in lots of fun activities'

Shukki, 9 years old from Nightingale School, said: "It was great because I got to read different books and took part in lots of fun activities."