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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Tuesday, 24 August 2010 17:52 UK
Norwich Millennium Library bucks falling visitor trend
Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library
The Millennium Library is situated in The Forum in Norwich

Norwich's Millennium Library continues to be a visitor success story, despite new government figures showing a decline in weekly library users.

In the last five years, the number of people visiting libraries in England has declined by 32%.

Figures in April 2010 saw the library's popularity increase by nearly 20,000 people compared to the previous year.

The library has been the most popular in the UK since 2006/07, attracting more than 1.5m visitors a year.

"We have a fantastic building here," said Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library manager Catherine Wymer.

"It attracts a very diverse range of customers and we listen to the services they like.

"There's a lot of other things attracting people nowadays and it's very important for library services to keep up with customer needs and the local community," she added.

According to the government's new statistics, 60% of the population in England haven't set foot inside a library in the past year.

Campaigners fear that up to 1,000 libraries in the country could close over the next 12 to 18 months as a result.

Widespread cuts in local government spending could also affect library services.

A novel idea: The library in a pub

One of the ways suggested to libraries to improve their popularity is diversification and taking their services to places where people go, including the supermarket and the pub.

"We've developed our services and you'll notice when you look around we're not a traditional, quiet, studious library, although we do have those facilities as well," said Catherine.

"Events are a very important part of attracting a diverse range of customers," she added.

In 2008/2009 the Millennium Library attracted 1,519,524 visitors and lent 1,124,233 items, including books, DVDs and console games.

The Millennium Library figures were compiled by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

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