A pledge to increase visitor numbers to Shropshire libraries has been made.

Figures revealed last week confirmed more than 111,000 fewer people visited the county’s libraries in 2017/18 compared with the previous year – a drop of almost 11 per cent.

It continues a long-term reduction in library visits. But Councillor Lezley Picton, portfolio holder for culture and leisure, said Shropshire’s library teams are already working on ways to bring people back.

She said: “This is part of a national trend where the number of people visiting libraries is decreasing.

“But what this report doesn’t show is the significant increase in digital loans. One of the major issues is the number of young people who are securing their books via a digital version.”

Digital loans allow library users to download a book to their mobile phone, tablet or computer.

But they can do this without needing to enter a library. Cllr Picton explained that she is in discussions with organisations to look at how visitor and loan figures can be increased which would involve introducing facilities in library buildings or offer library services in other facilities.

She continued: “I am not unduly concerned about the drop in people visiting because the overall numbers have actually gone up, but it is one that we are all struggling with.

“Our numbers are not dropping as fast as other libraries, and our librarians and library teams are looking at other ways to encourage people to go into their libraries, but digital is the way of the future.”