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Friday, 5 February 2016

The Croydon rumour mill goes into overdrive on libraries

There have been various reports in the press recently about the possibility of all but one Croydon library closing or being turned over to volunteers or just four core libraries remaining.

And the council has gone silent on their pre-election promise to rip up the contract with Carillion.

They also declined to take up the offer extended to them of advice from Tim Coates, at no cost to the council, to advise them on libraries, although Croydon Labour were very keen to engage with him in opposition.

It might appear that Councillor Timothy Godfrey, the cabinet member responsible, really has no idea what he is doing, but it is suspected that this leaking of possible scenarios is just the council's way of testing the public's reactions.

There is talk of a review of libraries, which some believe has already started, but which the Chief Executive, Nathan Elvery has confirmed as still in the planning.

He wrote,

"The Library review has yet to commence, as soon as we are in a position to begin any form of public engagement I will let you know.


Nathan Elvery 
Chief Executive"

And, to add to the confusion, we now have conflicting reports regarding closures.  

The first is the promise made by the Council leader, Tony Newman that Norbury will definitely stay open, although it is unclear exactly what this means in terms of level of service, hours, staffing and stock.

The second, is a local blogger who seems to think that four libraries might remain, a plan which includes the closure of Norbury Library.

There are figures quoted in the later post, but those that campaign for libraries know how easy it is to achieve a pre-determined outcome.

Tactics such as reducing the promotion of libraries in general, restricting the stock and greatly reducing the staffing in Croydon libraries all play a part in driving numbers down.  Add to this the reduction of activities offered within in some but not all of the libraries, and it's not hard to predict the outcome.

1 comment:

  1. I will be at the lobby of Parliament on Tuesday. Steve Reed MP needs to keep an eye on this as we all do!