Increasing attendance at libraries and leisure centres

New research has identified potential ways to encourage public attendance at libraries and leisure centres.

The report is the result of research undertaken by Dr Lisanne Gibson, Associate Professor, and Dr Varina Delrieu, Research Associate, of our School of Museum Studies and shows that geographic proximity to the home is important for the users of leisure centres, but a more complex picture emerges for attendance at libraries.

The study finds that individuals are more likely to attend a library as part of a trip-chain (the practice of undertaking more than one activity while out of the house) involving visits to other everyday leisure assets such as shops; thus, proximity to such facilities enables higher usage.

For leisure centres, the research found that the most important factors identified for users is distance from the home and the range of services and facilities on offer.

Dr Lisanne Gibson said: “Our research shows that libraries which are close to other everyday leisure facilities, such as shops, are in the main more popular. However, regardless of their proximity to shops or transport, some libraries which offered targeted services for particular communities were successful in attracting those user groups”.

“For leisure centres the picture was very different. Here we found that people attend regardless of a leisure centre’s proximity to other leisure assets; for leisure centres attendance was more a function of proximity to the home and the range of facilities and services on offer.”