Lambeth Council has pitched two communities in north Lambeth – in Oval/Stockwell and in Kennington- into an unwelcome battle against each other as it proposes to fund only one library for the north of the borough, either Tate South Lambeth or Durning.
Friends of Tate South Lambeth oppose the whole notion of restricting full library service to just one area of north Lambeth. But if Lambeth Council insists on this model, then we consider that Tate South Lambeth is the one to go for, as far and away the best performing library in the north of the borough.
Just look at the latest official figures, just released – for November and the first eight months of the current financial year (ie April-November).
Visit numbers have doubled
In November 2015 there were 17,430 visits at TSL, double the level in the same month of 2014. Visits to Durning Library, which has the same number of opening hours each week, were only 4,249 – which was a fall of over one third on November 2014.
In April-November visits to TSL reached 107,748 ( up by three quarters – 74% – on the same eight months in 2014). This was almost three times the figure at Durning, which was 37,638 – or almost one third down.
At the rate of visits recorded in April-November, the number at TSL will reach near 162,000 in a full year
TSL beats a major town centre library on visits per hour
In November TSL beat Streatham Library – one of the “town centre” libraries into which Lambeth Council has poured resources in recent years- in the number of visits it gets per hour. TSL’s figure was 106, Streatham’s 92. Durning’s figure was just 26.
Borrowing holds up well –
The number of book borrowings and renewals at TSL reached 5,939 in November compared with 3,492 at Durning.
In April-November the figure for TSL was 33,608,virtually unchanged from the previous year, while those for Durning – at 28,771 – were down by almost one tenth.
– and new membership is growing by near one third
In April-November new library memberships registered at TSL rose by near one third (29%) to 1,329, while Durning’s numbers were about one quarter lower, at 974 ( and up by only 5%).
One thing to remember : TSL costs slightly less to run each year than does Durning. So the Council is getting a lot more – in visits and books borrowed – for its money.