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The number of public libraries open.

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First published:
5 April 2022
Last updated:


4 April 2022



ATISN 16144 – Public Libraries

Information requested

Thank you for your request which I received on 7 March 2022.  You asked for:

The number of public libraries open in the years 2010/11, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22.

The Culture Division of Welsh Government is responsible for managing the Welsh Public Library Standards (WPLS) to monitor the provision of public library services under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, to ensure that a comprehensive and efficient library service is provided by library authorities. The first framework of standards ran from 2002 to 2005 and subsequent frameworks have also run over three financial years, with the sixth WPLS Standards framework coming to an end on 31 March 2020. A review of the framework was due to be undertaken but due to a number of factors, in particular COVID-19, the development of the seventh WPLS framework of standards was postponed.  Local authorities have continued to report against the core entitlements outlined in the sixth WPLS framework.

Under frameworks five (2014-17) and six (2017-20) of the WPLS, the following data was collected on the number of public libraries:

  • No. of static service points open 10+ hours per week
  • No. of static service points open for less than 10 hours per week
  • Community libraries that are supported by a local authority

Due to the previous data collection method, there are gaps in the WPLS information provided by local authorities prior to 2010/11. Therefore, we do not hold complete information for 2010/11 on the number of public libraries open. 

The information you requested is enclosed for the years 2015/16 – 2020/21. The data for 2021/22 will be submitted by local authorities in July 2022.

Year Number of libraries open
2015/16 237
2016/17 243
2017/18 224
2018/19 236
2019/20 230
2020/21 230

f you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:

Information Rights Unit
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CF10 3NQ 

or Email:

Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.   

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: 

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.

Yours sincerely