Small is not just beautiful – it’s effective

Against the background of cuts in spending on public libraries in Lambeth and Lambeth Council’s “co-operative libraries” policy – which many see as designed to shift the burden of providing and managing services at smaller libraries onto the local community – here’s some good news.

Tate South Lambeth is outperforming the average for Lambeth’s libraries, and it has been doing so since 2011.

The two basic measures of library performance are visits and loans. In the first five months of the current financial year ( ie April to August 2012) visits to TSL rose by one sixth (16.7%) from their level in the same five months of 2011. Over the same period the whole library service recorded a fall of 3.7%. There was a tiny decline in loans at TSL – but only by 1.3%, compared with a fall of 14.4% for the whole service.

These figures show that an under-resourced library can still perform strongly – because local people need and value it. Just think what it might achieve with more investment.

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