The research, which has been published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), also found that libraries in the least deprived areas had a higher proportion of children under five using them.
Libraries were most popular with white children, with 78 per cent of children under five using them, compared with 8 per cent of Asian children and only 4 per cent of black children.
Sarah Mears, children’s services development officer for Essex Libraries, said, ‘Providing evidence of impact has never been more important for library services and I would encourage all managers to take time to make the best possible use of this valuable report.’
Jon Graham, managing director of CIPFA Business, said, ‘These statistics provide some fascinating findings, particularly the differences between libraries in deprived areas where children are more likely to be older and visit on their own, compared to more affluent areas where children visiting libraries are generally younger and more likely to be read to by their parents. It is also interesting to note the trend suggesting an increase from 2007 in library activities beyond borrowing books.’