SWANSEA Central Library is the best in Wales, according to a UK-wide study. Figures sought by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) show the Civic Centre-based attraction issued 565,876 items in 2008/2009- the most in Wales and the tenth most in the UK.
And Swansea Central Library has continued the trend in 2009/2010. Swansea Council figures show the library has welcomed close to half a million people in the last year and issued over 590,000 books, CDs and DVDs.
The most borrowed book over the last year was The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. The most borrowed DVD was The Hurt Locker and the most borrowed CD was Lungs by Florence and the Machine.
Swansea Central Library moved from its old base on Alexandria Road to a state-of-the-art facility in the Civic Centre two and half years ago.
The multi-million pound scheme spearheaded by Swansea Council also saw the introduction of a revamped archives service, a public exhibition area, a face-to-face contact centre and a seafront cafe.
Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: "These are hugely encouraging statistics for everyone involved with the Swansea Library Service.
"Credit should go to the hard work of staff for their efforts to maintain the highest standards of customer service and to ensure the profile of Swansea Central Library is continually raised.
"Libraries across the city are once again becoming the heartbeat of the communities they serve and the traditional perceptions of dusty bookshelves have been banished. Libraries in Swansea are now places for the whole family where a huge variety of information technology equipment, books, CDs, DVDs, activities and other services is easily accessible.
"The challenge now is to maintain this enormously satisfying level of popularity."
Julian Mund, CIPFA's Director of Operations, said: "Congratulations to Swansea Central Library on lending so many books.
"While the CIPFA survey shows that many users are accessing services online, it's clear that libraries remain as popular and relevant as ever."
One of the more recent schemes introduced by the Swansea Libary Service is the chance to download a wide variety of audio books for free.
Take a peek at www.swansea.gov.uk/libraries for more information or call 01792 636464.