An army of volunteers and a packed programme of activities have put Sandwell libraries among the best in the country according to recent figures. The borough came third out of 36 metropolitan authorities for the number of books borrowed and with more than 1.7 million people through the doors, it had the fourth highest number of visits.
Figures for 2015-16 released by the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy also show Sandwell had the fifth highest use of computers and was the tenth highest for enquiries.
And it had the second highest number of volunteers after recording 16,820 volunteer hours during the year.
Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “These are excellent results thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, who despite facing a tough budget resulting from central government cuts, are providing an excellent service to our residents. Figures show that more than a million books were borrowed by Sandwell residents, and visitors spent more than 216,000 hours on library computers.
“Our staff and volunteers work hard at providing a packed programme of activities at our libraries making them active community hubs and unlike other boroughs we aren't cutting opening hours or closing libraries, in fact we are encouraging their use as can be seen by these figures.”
Sandwell Library Service has lots of different roles for volunteers, from helping people to use computers, running knit and natter sessions, to helping run a café. All libraries have friends groups, who are always looking for new members. If you want to know more about volunteering or joining the friends group, call in to the library.