While libraries across the country seem to be closing, Merton seems to have bucked the trend, a report shows.

Over the past 10 years the opening hours of libraries across the borough have been extended.

An annual libraries report is set to be discussed by the council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday (April 30).

Highlights over the past year include work to make facilities more dementia and autism friendly as well as centenary events for World War One and the

women’s suffrage movement.

And the cultural offer has been expanded through the development of the Merton Arts Spaces.

The spaces are at Wimbledon and Mitcham libraries and can host events with lighting, sound and stage facilities.

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And these events attracted  an estimated 116,975 visitors in 2018/19.

The report said: “The Arts Spaces contribute to income generation when used out of normal opening hours for commercial purposes and a £38,000 income

generation saving is included in this year’s MTFS.”

The medium term financial strategy (MTFS) is a plan for the council’s spending forecasts over four years.

Libraries across the borough couldn’t run as they do without the help of volunteers.

In Merton there are higher numbers than most across the UK, with 545 volunteers racking up a total of 27,437 hours in 2018/19.

The meeting will take place at Merton Civic Centre from 7.15pm.