Evidence to help build an understanding of how audiences have engaged differently with Libraries and Literature based events during and moving out of the pandemic.

Cultural Participation Monitor Key Findings:

  • When asked about their culture interests, 21% of all respondents expressed an interest in spoken word and poetry. 30% said they were not very interested and 24% said they were not at all interested.
  • During the pandemic, 41% of all respondents had read books for pleasure and 7% had written stories, poetry, plays or created music.
  • Attendance to libraries almost doubled in 2021 - 45% of people surveyed visited in 2020, while 84% visited in 2021.
  • 86% were satisfied that the venue, event or place had taken adequate steps to ensure Covid-19 safety.
  • 53% of people who participated online during the pandemic said the activity was provided by an organisation they had attended physically in the past.
  • 67% said they would be very or quite willing to make a donation or pay-what-you-like contribution to an online cultural collections, archives or library.

Where else Libraries and Literature Audiences engage

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Explore our Findings through the Pandemic:


In-person Attendance

Libraries

Pandemic Attendance
  • 15% of all respondents said they had visited a library since the pandemic began (27% of Metroculturals and 21% of Experience Seekers; 19% of age group 16-24 and 18% of age group 35-44; 16% of urban audiences).
  • Of those that visited a library, 18% did this once, 38% did this 2 or 3 times, 27% did this 4 or 5 times, 17% did this 6 or more times.
  • 2% visited a library for the first time during the pandemic.
Previous Attendance
  • 20% said they were visiting libraries more than they did the year before, 43% said they did it the same amount and 34% said they did it less.
  • Attendance to libraries rose significantly in 2021. 45% of people surveyed visited in 2020, while 84% visited in 2021.
  • Of that latter group, 83% did so in the last two months.
Motivation and Wellbeing
  • The main reasons cited for visiting the library were ‘to relax, take your mind of things’ (30%), ‘to be entertained’ (20%) and ‘to be inspired or stimulated’ (18%).
  • 86% said their expectations were met.
  • 74% said visiting a library had a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Literary Events

Attendance Patterns
  • 7% of all respondents had attended an event connected to books or writing (including readings and literary festivals) since the pandemic began. In the 12 months before the pandemic this figure was 8%.
  • Events connected to books or writing tended to be less local than other activities (26% said the journey was up to 30 mins, 43% said up to 1 hour).
Audience Profiles
Motivation and Wellbeing
  • The most cited reasons for attending were ‘to relax, take my mind of things’ (44%), ‘to be inspired or stimulated’ (36%) and ‘to take part in an activity’ (35%).
  • 76% said the activity met their expectations.
  • 78% found it had positive impact on their wellbeing.

Online Attendance

Pandemic Participation
  • Since the pandemic, just 7% of respondents had used an online cultural collection, archive or library.
  • Of these, 26% of had done this one time, 41% did it 2-5 times and 17% did it 6 or more times.
  • Participation was higher for some Audience Spectrum groups, including 12% of Metroculturals, 10% of Experience Seekers, and 8% of Kaleidoscope Creativity;
  • At 11%, respondents aged 16-24 are the most likely to have participated online.

Previous Participation
  • 41% of respondents had used an online cultural collection, archive or library more before the pandemic, 31% did it the same amount, 12% did it less and 14% did this for the first time during the pandemic.
  • 53% of people who participated online during the pandemic said the activity was provided by an organisation they had attended physically in the past.
  • Participation has actually fallen slightly since the pandemic began, with 69% participating in 2020 and 64% participating in 2021. Of the latter group, 59% had participated in the past two months.
Motivation and Experience
  • The most cited reasons for taking part were ‘to learn something new, pursue new interests’ (41%), ‘to be inspired or stimulated’ (39%) and ‘to relax, take your mind of things’ (36%).
  • 39% of online participants for online collections, archives or libraries rated their experience as very good, while 43% rated it as good.
  • 80% said the experience met their expectations and 75% said it had a positive impact on their wellbeing.
Future Intentions
  • Just 7% of all respondents said they had something specific they wanted to see or do in terms of using online cultural collections, archives or libraries in the future.
  • 24% said they were interested but did not have anything specific they wanted to do yet.
  • 29% they were not particularly interested in these kinds of activities and 32% said they had no interest at all.
Payment and Contribution
  • In terms of payment models, for online cultural collections, archives or libraries, 61% of online audiences said they would be very or quite willing to pay a fixed price for access.
  • 67% said they would be very or quite willing to make a donation or pay-what-you-like contribution.
  • 43% said they would be very or quite willing to take up a paid-for subscription.


Image of 10 action research projects selected through the Opening Archives open call
10 action research projects selected through the Opening Archives open call

Each project will be awarded a grant, training and mentoring as they form the centrepiece of The Audience Agency’s Digitally Democratising Archives project thanks to funding from DCMS and the National Lottery, as part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s, Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

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COVID-19 Community Story | The Writing Squad

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Image of COVID-19 Community Story | Spot On Lancashire
COVID-19 Community Story | Spot On Lancashire

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Digital

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