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Community / Library stats best in the UK per head of population

Photo: SIC

THE SHETLAND library had the most library visits and book loans per head of population in the whole of the UK in 2020/21, according to statistics.

This has been put down to the service’s swift recovery after the 2020 Covid lockdown.

The information was included in a report to members of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday.

Shetland North member Tom Morton said it was a “great good news story”.

Children’s service director Helen Budge reiterated that during lockdown there was a “huge uptake” in electronic services.

“We also changed to home deliveries […] of media in print, and that was really appreciated by lots of families as well,” she said.

Morton also took time to praise the library staff – and perhaps gave a certain Welsh rock band their first namecheck in the council chamber.

“To quote the Manic Street Preachers: libraries give us power, and I think that during the pandemic reading has been the salvation of hundreds if not thousands of people, and the work they’ve done has been exemplary,” he said.

Last year library services returned to their old home at Lower Hillhead in Lerwick, with council meetings instead taking up residence at St Ringan’s.