CULTURE Perth and Kinross, the charitable trust set up to deliver creative museum and library services across Perthshire, is celebrating its first birthday with dramatic increases in visitors.

It is marking a turnaround in library lending and a thumbs-up from the public.

Figures just released from the trust show 10 per cent more visitors to Perth & Kinross museums, 65 per cent more child library members, 9 per cent more library visitors in Pitlochry and Comrie, and 90 per cent of customers saying they were satisfied or highly satisfied with the region's museums and libraries.

The region's principal library, AK Bell in Perth, saw a 5 per cent rise in footfall, its first increase in five years.

Meanwhile, the recent Brick City LEGO exhibition, which wrapped up at the weekend at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, has posted record visitor numbers of more than 13,000.

Announcing the figures, Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: "It's been a busy and exciting first year for Culture Perth and Kinross, and also a fruitful one.

"We're delighted that our 2016/17 figures show significant increases in museum and library visits in the region, in the face of changing consumer behaviour and a general UK-wide downturn in both.

"The Brick City visitor numbers are a third higher than we forecast, while the 65 per cent rise in child library members is a direct result of our Every Child a Library Member programme.

"I find that figure particularly heartening, since this is the next generation of users, the cultural influencers of tomorrow."

Charles Kinnoull, chair of the Board of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: "I'd like to thank Culture Perth and Kinross staff for their hard work in delivering on our promise of bringing culture to the region in innovative, exciting ways, and to the stakeholders, donors and members of the public who have supported our efforts.

"I believe we're making our mark on the cultural landscape, not just in Perthshire but Scotland. Events such as the inaugural Platform Festival of the Arts and the forthcoming Picts and Pixels at Perth Museum & Art Gallery push the cultural boundaries, as do using libraries in surprising ways."

Culture Perth and Kinross was formed to take responsibility for the delivery and development of museum and library services in Perth and Kinross.

It manages museums, galleries, libraries, archive and local history services previously operated directly by Perth & Kinross Council.

Chief executive is Helen Smout, formerly service manager, culture with Perth & Kinross Council.

The board is led by Charles Kinnoull.

Picts & Pixels, a chance to explore the world of the Picts through using the latest digital and gaming technology, runs from May, 20 to August, 12.

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