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Library membership soars in Havering

PUBLISHED: 12:26 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:26 04 March 2013

Cllr Andrew Curtin.

Cllr Andrew Curtin.

Archant

Membership at Havering’s Libraries has soared in recent years, with 67 per cent of the borough now signed up.

The number of cardholders has increased by 50,000 since 2005, and now stands at 158,375.

The figures were highlighted by Havering Council’s member for culture Cllr Andrew Curtin, who believes it is one of the highest proportions in London.

He said: “At a time when many public library services seem to lack political support, Havering Library Service is a shining example of how to provide popular public services at a reasonable cost to the tax payer.

“The public library service is easily the best and most efficient way of making progress on a whole range of social and cultural issues - from supporting children’s early years development to ensuring that older people can enjoy life to the full.

He added: “They draw us all together.”

As well as books, other items available at the borough’s libraries include free downloads for audio and e-books as well free 24/7 access to the online library.

Membership also includes free access to newspapers and magazines, and legal and business information.

There are also a number of free online courses including - from languages, to psychology and baking - which members can do from home and for free.

Cllr Curtin, praised the staff at Havering’s libraries as “the most remarkable and committed teams of library professionals in any library service I have seen.”

The councillor recently translated a biography of 19th century painter George Dawe from Russian into English and donated a copy to Central Library, Romford.

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