VISITORS to Portsmouth’s libraries and museums have soared, according to new figures.
The city council said more than a million people visited its libraries last year.
Book lending figures at Southsea Library in Palmerston Road rocketed by over 20,000 to 155,892 last year.
The summer reading challenge also had the best year yet with more than 1,500 children ploughing through six books during the holidays in 2013.
Meanwhile museum visitors city-wide rose by more than 16,000 year-on-year to 253,731 last week.
Southsea Castle, was the most popular museum with more than 100,000 visitors.
The City Museum in Museum Road attracted 47,151 people, more than 13,000 visitors than the previous year.
Councillor Lee Hunt said: ‘We’ve taken some radical decisions, such as opening a library in a former Woolworths, and working in partnership with Yellow Kite at Southsea Castle to offer free admission.’
He added: ‘But the visitor numbers speak for themselves and proves how popular they are. The success is also down to the hard work of every one involved.’