Book lovers are deserting the borough’s libraries in their droves.

Visitor numbers at Kirklees libraries have dropped at almost every branch.

There were nearly a quarter-of-a-million fewer visits overall compared to 2012/13.

Huddersfield’s central library suffered a drop of over 100,000 visits during that time.

The library on Princess Alexandra Walk had a total of 508,982 visitors during 2014/15, figures released exclusively to the Examiner show.

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It is a similar story with the number of books borrowed from the centre.

Readers took out 249,287 books from Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery last year, more than 57,000 fewer than two years earlier.

Figures released to the Examiner by Kirklees Council show all but two of the borough’s 27 physical branches saw year-on-year declines in the number of visitors.

Even so, Kirklees’ network of libraries had 1.96m visitors last year.

Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery.
Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery.

This is equivalent to everyone in the borough going to a library between four and five times each.

The biggest drop from 2013/14 to last year – a fall of 41% – was Thornhill Lees which is set for closure in April.

Slaithwaite lost 37%, Marsden 20% and Almondbury 19%.

The mobile service also saw about 20% fewer people climbing on board.

Libraries that gained visitors were Kirkheaton (26% up) and the library at the Greenwood Centre in Ravensthorpe (15%).

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The shrinkage in library visits has been revealed amid a huge shake-up of the library service.

The council confirmed last year it was cutting £1.8m from the budget.

From April onwards, only the eight biggest libraries will be run entirely by the council with the rest relying on volunteer support.

Two will close – Lepton and Thornhill Lees – both of which suffered significant falls in visitor numbers last year.

Lepton library, Highgate Lane, Lepton.