Funding for Croydon libraries is due to be reduced from 1 April.
In the Council’s draft budget that went to the Scrutiny Committee on 15 December, the libraries face a £217,000 (4.9 per cent) cut next year.
Council Leader Tony Newman told the Committee:
- “We’re quite determined, if it’s possible, to retain a full library service. What we’ve said is we’re going to have to provide those services differently. Libraries need to evolve.”
The Croydon Advertiser , reports that detailed figures on useage are likely to inform councillors deciding which libraries may have to be run by voluntary groups and which they may try to close altogether. Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet member for culture, has said Government cuts could mean the closure of all libraries “paart from what you would call the core statutory ones.”,
- Visits to Croydon’s libraries fell 11.62% in three years, from 2,049,689 to 1,836,271.
- Three libraries – Ashburton, Coulsdon and Purley managed to buck this trend.
The Advertiser‘s analysis is likely to have come from the Freedom of Information answer I received from the Council. It shows that although Carillion is likely to be paid more in this financial year (£3,210,480 ) than last year (£3,151,561) , useage and staffing is declining. Carillion bought the contract from JLS shortly after the latter’s start of the contract in October 2013. The first 6 months of that contract cost £1,445,107. No penalties were issued for failure to meet contract terms and therefore no fines were levied for breaches of contract.
- Staffing – down
The number of professional librarians dropped from 23 between March 2013 and 2014 to 10.2, with a slight rise to 11 I in March 2015. Non professional staff dropped from 81 in March 2013 to 65.3. a year later and up to 68.3 in March 2015.
- Book stock – down
The book stock has decreased from 384,780 in March 2013 to 376,330 in 2015.
In 2012-13 31,176 new library books were purchased, 39,759 in 2013-14 and 32,460 in 2014-15.
In 2012-13 20,882 books were withdrawn due to condition or being out of date: 23,625 in 2013-14 and 23,245 in 2014-15.
No information is recorded on how many library books were transferred between libraries.
- Book Issues – down
The number of books being borrowed has been declining from 1,090,507 in 2012-13 to 991,085 in 2013-14 and 866,777 in 2014-15.
Fiction books borrowed: 723,516 2012-13; 667,236 2013-14; 604,008 2014-15.
Non-fiction books borrowed: 366,991 2012-13; 323,849 203-14; 262,769 2014-15.
- Audio visual Issues – down
The number of audio-visual items borrowed was 45,149 in 20012-3, 37,519 in 2013-14 and 29,472 in 2014-15.
- Computer use – up
139,664 people used the library computers October to March 2013-14, 274,352 2014-15, and 153,802 April to October.
- Events organised by staff
2,542 2013-14; 5,694 2014-15; 3,455 1 April – 31 October 2015.
The number of events run by community and voluntary organisations is not recorded.
Up to end of August volunteer support to staff was recorded as hours: 1,591 (2013-14), 6,775.75 (2014-15); 6,849.25 April to September 2015.
Since September the actual numbers of volunteers are being e recorded: September 86 and October 52.
- Trainee students
Work experience hours were recorded as hours: 497 2013-14; 1,688 2014-15; 891.5 April to September 2015)
The FOI answer
Several of the above categories of information are provided for each library allowing for analysis of how each one is performing and therefore indicating which might be vulnerable. The full answer can be downloaded here: