Information on the number of public library openings is not held centrally. But the data on the number of libraries open more than 10 hours is collected as part of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Public Library Statistics. Therefore, the only way to obtain an accurate figure for the balance between library openings and closures is to consider the CIPFA statistics over this period, copies of which are available in the House Library.
In 1996-97, 3,572 libraries were open more than 10 hours. In 2006-07, 3,494 libraries were open more than 10 hours, a net difference of 78.