THE amount of money budgeted to be spent on library books by LiveWire has more than halved in the past three years.

Figures revealed that the company’s budget for books was £231,496 for 2012 to 2013 but the amount fell year on year, with the 2016 to 2017 budget at £103,944.

In 2013 LiveWire budgeted to spend £1.14 per resident on books but in the 2016 budget that number fell to just 50p per person.

Not all of the budget is spent on physical books with funds also going towards multimedia, talking book machines, periodicals and other resources.

Fewer new books could mean a decline in visitor numbers but LiveWire said the budget reflects the way people use their library as demand grows for electronic books.

The 2016 to 2017 budget shows that the money allocated for adult and children’s books fell again but spending has increased on reference books and multimedia.

A spokesman for LiveWire said: “Our libraries are well stocked with a wide range of books and we make every effort to provide a wide range of titles.

“To meet savings targets, we have joined a group of other library services to buy books together in bulk which has reduced our costs.

“The way people consume books is changing and the number of eBooks we issue has risen by 124 per cent over the last few years. In 2012/13 we issued 4,878 eBooks and in 2015/16 we issued a total of 10,934 eBooks.

“By spending money on a wider variety of resources, we are better able to meet the needs of our existing library users and the introduction of eBooks is also one of the ways that we are trying to attract new people to use library services.”

The 2016 budget allocates £60,999 towards adult books and £18,999 for children’s books, with £9,999 due to be spent on multimedia.