CHILDREN find Wiltshire libraries friendly, helpful and a place they want to go, a survey has found.

The survey took place in autumn last year in 17 of the Wiltshire County Council run libraries, including some mobile libraries.

It was hoped the county council would find out how children currently use its libraries and discover how satisfied they are with the services.

Every child aged up to 15 years old who visited these libraries in that period was given the opportunity to take part, with parents and carers completing the survey on behalf of very young children and a total of 2,179 questionnaires were returned.

Many of the results gave libraries an excellent rating and were indicative of how highly prized Wiltshire libraries are and the impact they have had on children's lives.

87 per cent of the children rated their library as good overall, which matches exactly the national target. In total 99.7 per cent rated their library good or ok overall.

When asked how the library has helped them, over half of the children said the library helped them to learn and find out things, an impressive 46.9 per cent to read better, and just under a third to do better at school.

This confirms feedback from other library service initiatives and activities such as Bookstart and the Summer Reading Challenge that libraries really do have a significant impact on children's reading and learning.

Nearly all of the children rated the books in their library as good or ok.

When asked why they borrow books from their library, over half said they liked reading and 28 per cent said they wanted to get better at reading.

Additionally more than 90 per cent of those surveyed thought the library was friendly, safe, a place they want to come, bright and cheerful and a place with lots to interest them.

Sarah Hillier, county children's librarian, said: "We are grateful to all the children who took part in this survey, the results are fantastic.

"There were many positive comments about the individual libraries, as well as some constructive suggestions for improvements.

"We are looking at the key areas for improvement and have either already instigated them or are considering the suggestions in future planning."

The survey has brought up some suggestions of how the libraries could improve their services.

The possibility of afternoon rhyme and story times are being explored in Malmesbury library, while Trowbridge library is looking at setting up "Chatterbooks" book club for children to join.

The results of the surveys will be made available through participating libraries and on the county councils website later this year.