A study looking into the mobile library service in Cambridgeshire says they produce huge value in the county.

Cambridgeshire’s three mobile libraries serve 98 villages each month.

The Libraries Connected East study, conducted by economists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) tfound that England’s public libraries generated the equivalent of £3.4bn each year.

Mobile libraries visit isolated locations - stopping at care homes, primary schools, playgroups, day centres, housing shelters, campuses, science parks and retail parks.

The service enables those in rural areas to stay connected and independent by borrowing books, CDs, buying stamps and reading glasses.

Additionally, in partnership with the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, they also provide hearing aid batteries and support for people with hearing problems.

The report found that, through this broad range of services, Cambridgeshire’s mobile libraries were generating the equivalent of £49.70 per user each year. With more than 6,400 regular users.

The report also highlighted the importance of libraries’ digital inclusion services which includes access to printing and tech buddy schemes, with Wisbech library particularly praised.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, said: “Our mobile libraries are absolutely vital for isolated people unable to access static library services – they offer so many benefits beyond those traditionally associated with libraries.

“We are delighted that this new report acknowledges the huge value that they deliver to Cambridgeshire, and more generally recognises the impressive six-fold return on investment that libraries provide to our community.

“The Council is committed to continuing to support and develop the library services in Cambridgeshire.”

The report also estimated that a branch library typically provides a value between £600,000 and £1.5m depending on size and services offered.

Cambridgeshire County Council runs 33 libraries in the county with 12 further libraries in the area run by local communities. 

Find out about where the mobile library stops near you here.