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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Lies, damn lies and statistics... A working model?

An article by campaign group Voices for the Library is particularly relevant to Croydon Libraries.  You can access the article in full here.

It outlines how statistics can be used to inform decisions taken by a council and how some councils are
"willing and able to manipulate the statistics where required to tip the odds in their favour..".  
The article goes on to demonstrate how the provision of activities in libraries and their effective promotion draws people in, which has a positive impact on the visits.

This is particularly relevant for Croydon as we've already covered the decline in service, lack of promotion of activities and other difficulties experienced in Sanderstead Library here and  here.  We know that Sanderstead is not alone in this either.

The article makes one key point in relation to the the lack of promotion of activities and limiting the nature and scope of activities on offer, which they state is all the more disturbing when set against the backdrop of the 1964 Libraries Act.  
"The Act clearly states:
“It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof…. of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service.” [emphasis mine]
If library authorities are not promoting activities or events within your library network, they are not ‘encouraging’ adults and children to make full use of the library.  Encouraging people to use the library requires promotional activity and this is fundamental to the delivery of a comprehensive and efficient library service."
Croydon has already experienced this decline in the breadth of activities on offer and in the promotion of its activities.  Calls to have events better advertised have been ignored so far.  Wrong or incomplete information is in circulation.

Here are just a few examples:
Thank goodness Croydon adults were not queuing up to learn to play board games listed such as Battleships. Cancelled event as the board games did not turn up on the day but there was still the chance to enter the Great Croydon Quiz competition to win the grand prize - a free DVD rental!  WOW!...enticing!

No dates and wrong time advertised - In a matter of months the waiting list for the oversubscribed Chatterbooks group is exhausted and the group is run with only a handful of children in attendance.  Children in the library only minutes before the event started not told of the event. 

Possible to provide date and time details, but only in some libraries, apparently? No hidden agenda here.  Look away now!

CLOSED! The welcome greeting offered to library users on more than one occasion since the 'Internal Reshuffle' aka 'drastic loss of  librarians and experienced staff' when the library could not open for two reasons: Only one staff member and no key to access the building! 

Welcome children....If you move to the front of the building and perch on tippy-toes you can look at the books..Enjoy! 

If you wish to follow Voices for the Library find them at:

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