Surging numbers join Norfolk’s library service
People have proved that Norfolk is a county of book-lovers after a campaign to entice 5,000 people to join the library in January almost doubled its target.
The county council library service's month-long Join Up January drive not only saw 5,353 people sign up for library cards, but 3,982 who had stopped using the service came back to reactivate their membership.
Councillors, who decided to spare the library service from the brunt of the �155m cuts in the next three years, hailed the total figure of 9,335.
James Carswell, cabinet member for cultural services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'This is a fantastic achievement and I'm so pleased that the ongoing hard work of our libraries staff to make libraries inviting and relevant places to visit has paid off in such style.
'We know how much our libraries are valued by people in Norfolk, this is something that came through loud and clear in our recent consultation on the future of the council's services, and the success of the Join up January campaign reinforces this.
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'We don't just want people to join the library however, we want them to use and keep using their library card. Library membership is for all year, every year, not just for January, and I would urge everyone to take advantage of this great, local service that has such a lot to offer people of all ages.'
Libraries held events throughout January to encourage people to find out more about what they offer, including digital ebooks and free-to-use PCs.
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Each library was set a target membership figure for the month which was linked to the number of people who joined through that library the previous January.
Among all the results, Reepham Library – also one of the county's smallest libraries – did particularly well, surpassing its target of joining up nine new or lapsed members by a massive 600pc.
The library, which will celebrate its 40th birthday at the end of next month, attracted 54 people to become members. Diane Northway, manager of Reepham Library, said: 'It's been a great month for us; all the staff really got behind the promotion and we've all really enjoyed it.
'We wanted to draw people's attention to the fact that they've got a library in Reepham as not everyone knew and this meant going out in the local community.
'We visited the local primary school and invited them and their families to us for a number of special afternoon events, went along to meetings of local clubs and also stood in the marketplace on a freezing January morning on market day and talked to people who we knew didn't visit the library. A lot of them were really surprised about what we could offer them.'
The Join up January campaign helped swell the number of people who are active library members in Norfolk to around 250,000.
People who want to join should visit their local library or go online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries