Written by IainB
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

image for Isle of Wight News - Ventnor Library to Close
Save Ventnor Library! Go and take a book out

Ventnor library has been suffering with a general decline in visitors over the past year, and the local council have made the reluctant decision to close it.

"In 1999 reading rates were at their highest since records began," said councillor Helmut Bottleneck, 49. "Since then, there has been a steady decline among visitors to the library. In 2006, just under ten thousand books were checked out, over half of which were children's books. In 2009, that number was half that, at three thousand books."

Ventnor council are unable to understand why the readership rates at the library should undergo such a dramatic decline.

"Personally," said Bottleneck, "I blame television and Amazon."

Local Ventnor resident, and ardent library visitor, Luke Buchs, 34, has a different theory. "I've been going to the library since I was a child," he said. "I think this will be my last year unless they get some new books in as I've nearly read the ones that they've got, I'm waiting on Prehistoric Where's Wally. They made a big thing back in 1999 about how they'd brought in several hundred new books in an effort to boost visitors, but they've not bought any since. I'd quite like to read those Harry Potter books, but I'm too skint to buy them, and the library hasn't got anything published this century."

Clarissa Havens, 59, chief librarian doesn't see this happening any time soon. "Unless we get a significant increase in funding I don't see how we can get new books in, after all, books are expensive, and they won't increase funding unless there are more visitors."

So a Catch-22, then, although this was checked out when we visited.

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