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Friday, 29 June 2012

Will you take the six book Reading Challenge?

An article in the local press promotes the six book challenge aimed at adults, soon to be launched in Croydon libraries, with comment from Cllr Tim Pollard, who has taken on responsibilities for libraries from Cllr Sara Bashford. You can read the full article here.

Will you be taking part in the six book challenge?

The recent book cull was quite regularly reported to the campaign by library users from the far south to the far north of the borough. This cull saw some of the housing for books removed in at least one library and length after length of empty shelving in others.

Just one shelf in one Croydon library.
This is not an isolated case. 
Shelving has actually been removed in some to mask the book cull.

We hear ongoing reports of the difficulties that residents have accessing the books they actually want to read. Often even best-sellers are not available on the catalogue and other popular books are very difficult to obtain as so few are held. 

Another Croydon library following the theme 'less is more'.

Whilst the chance to go into the draw to win £25 might be an incentive to some, isn't a good selection of books, that residents actually wish to read, a more effective motivator to using the library than a cash prize?

What do you value about our library service? 

Are you motivated by the offer of a prize draw? 

Please take a moment to give us your views.


  1. Such a shame about the decrease in book stock and poor selection of books. This surely must affect take up of what should otherwise be a very good scheme to get people reading and to promote libraries. The scheme's cash prize is not a motivator for me, but more the chance to read from a variety, may I even say vast selection of well-selected and even new book titles. I do hope it can still be a success though and if so, it might even go as far as to incentivise the council to reconsider their book cull and start replenishing book stocks instead. Particularly if enough people comment on the lack of and variety of books.

  2. I hate the decrease in books and so does my kid. I believe, really, really believe in libraries - but the emphasis on words written on paper does seem to be decreasing. Does this mean we need libraries less? Looking in my house at the amount of space taken up by old videos we don't watch much, DVDs we don't watch much, CDs we don't listen to much, I don't think so! It's way more cost-effective to have them for a while, then give them back for someone else. Simples.

    I like cash, but not as much as a decent range of books. I think the two libraries I use most often (Sanderstead and Selsdon) try their damnedest to offer a good service, with many activities aimed at drawing in the kids - presumably in the hope of getting their parents as well - and mostly succeed in spite of seldom seeming to have a lot that is new. Sanderstead in particular is starved of much, not even opening a full week anymore, so I can't always go there. I can't see the point in empty shelves: they just show that the council want to close it and just haven't got there yet.

    I took part in the six book challenge. It took me two visits, mostly because I forgot about it for a while. Normally, it would take me one. I didn't think it was too much for most though. Perhaps it needed smaller steps for some? I know people who haven't read a whole book since they left school - I might find them hard to relate to on this point, but I think setting them a target of six books might be unrealistic. I don't think it need be anything wildly expensive: money is always welcome, but I was happy with what was on offer. Perhaps after one book, you get a bookmark, three books, you get a pen and six books the DVD rental? That'd work for me! Running it more than once in the year might also be a good thing, as the childfree might take most of the summer to notice the campaign...

  3. I had to ask at the Central Library to join the "Six Book Summer Challenge", which I only knew about from an earlier tweet from: @SaveCroydonLibs, the bookmarks were not on display in the library and someone had to "go and find them".

    I have not bothered getting my bookmark stamped for several reasons:

    1) I put my books in the returned bin. Why queue up to return books just to get a stamp. If the library staff were encouraging participation they would ask you when you took books out if you were doing the challenge and give you stamps for your returns. They can see your history when they swipe your card.

    2) There is a condition that one book must be fiction and one non fiction. If the intention is to encourage reading what does it matter what is read.

    3) Only two stamps per visit, seems again to be a completely pointless rule. So someone gets six books out, reads and returns them three weeks later in what way does this show less interest in reading than going once a week for two books. Chances are when you return your books you will take some more out.

    4) Not particularly interested in DVD hire or prize draw myself, but if this is recognised to be an encouragement then
    why not make it a truly unlimited offer subject to fair usage. Give a stamp for every book and allow multiple entries (not specified whether this is permitted). Many commercial DVD rental companies offer free tempters of up to a year to retain brand loyalty.

    A little more thought and marketing would probably have made this something people wanted to participate in. My personal opinion is that only existing library users would bother with this scheme at all.