“Calling all dedicated and hard-working volunteers in Lewisham’s so-called community libraries. Want to know how you’re doing? How many books you’re managing to lend? How visitor numbers are holding up?
Well, tough. As of October 2012, Lewisham council has decided to stop allowing access to the statistics which it used to publish on a quarterly basis, often before anyone even asked.
Now Lewisham tell us we can wait until the official government statistics agency, CIPFA, produces its report in December 2013 for the year ended last April. What they don’t tell us is that CIPFA only provides figures for the borough as a whole, not for individual libraries. So there will be no way of knowing – to give but one example – how many times Blackheath community library’s total of 13 books for teenagers made it off the shelves. Lewisham also fail to mention that CIPFA make a hefty charge for access to their publications.
Surely the council can have nothing to hide! Like, how are “community” libraries faring compared with the ones still being run by the local authority? Come on, Lewisham. You’ve handed over almost half your libraries to volunteers. Now let the people who are doing your work for you see how they’re doing.”