COUNCIL bosses have pledged to double the amount of cash ploughed into the city’s libraries.
Spending on books across Wearside’s libraries fell from £406,465 in 2010-2011, to £141,268 in 2011-2012 – a reduction of 65 per cent – as the council tried to save £58million.
The authority said it will double that amount to £350,000 for 2012/13.
A total of £340,000 will be spent on books, while £10,000 has been set aside for CDs and DVDs.
Sunderland City Council cabinet member for culture, Coun John Kelly said: “Expenditure on new and replacement library books was reduced in 2011-12 as a result of ongoing efficiency savings across the council.
“Considerable funding has been reinstated for 2012-13 and the library service is planning to spend £350,000 on new and replacement items during the current year.”
The boost comes as some councils across the region look at cutting back their library services.
Newcastle City Council said it is considering the future of the majority of its branch libraries while Gateshead said it could pass on five of its 17 branches to local people to be run as community-operated libraries.
Coun Kelly added: “Councils across the country are having to make hard decisions on spending and libraries are no exception.
“In Sunderland, our book spending has become more concentrated on core and popular titles to help meet public choice and demand.
“Borrowers can also access titles through both local and national inter-library loan schemes.”
Sunderland writer and television personality Denise Robertson welcomed the cash boost.
She said: “The library is an essential part of our lives which must be respected.
“The book is paramount, especially for children.
“They go through books so quickly that the library is important for parents who can’t afford to keep buying new books.
“Taking your child to the library is one of the greatest pleasures in life and I hope it remains.”
The council pointed to their investment into DVDs, computers and e-books as one of the reasons behind the reduced spending on new books in 2011-2012.
Horrible Histories author Terry Deary said: “There are some libraries leading the way by using ebooks.
“They have to adapt to new technology because that’s the way the world is going.”