Carlisle has been named one of the top cities in the UK for library access.

New data from TonerGiant has uncovered the areas in England with the best, and worst, access to libraries, with northern cities Carlisle and Lancaster taking the top spot.

The border city has one main library in the city centre - Carlisle Library, but also has five other book collection centres in the surrounding area. 

They include Denton Holme Library, Carlisle Archive Centre, Harraby Library, Morton Library and Carlisle West Library.

Unfortunately, footfall into Carlisle Library has decreased significantly in recent years, partly due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Addressing this issue in 2023, Councillor Anne Quilter, Cumberland Council’s executive member for vibrant and healthy places, said:

"Libraries across the country have faced shifting trends in recent years and changes in how people access information have undoubtedly affected our visitor numbers following on from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"However, we are seeing a gradual increase in footfall across our libraries with a significant increase year on year in library memberships and the number of books borrowed post-pandemic, and we predict this will continue."

The data found that residents in Carlisle and Lancaster have the best access to libraries in England, with approximately nine libraries per 100,000 people in each city.

Eight of the top 10 best cities for library accessibility are found in the north of England, with five of these being found throughout the county of Yorkshire.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London is home to the highest number of libraries in the UK, with 194 throughout the capital. However, with the city also having the largest population, this only equates to four libraries per 100,000 people.

For those wishing to visit one of Carlisle's libraries on World Book Day (Thursday, March 7) there are a number of popular options from Cumbrian authors to choose from. 

They include the works of M.W Craven, Rachel Lynch, Melvyn Bragg and Margaret Forster. 

Access to libraries is perhaps more important now than ever, with some operating as warm spots for people during the current cost of living crisis.