Croydon residents are being urged to give their ideas towards shaping plans to improve the borough’s libraries for decades to come.
From today, Croydon Council is asking local residents, community groups and businesses to give their ideas and support towards improving the borough’s libraries by taking part in an online survey and focus groups.
Last night (Monday), the council’s cabinet approved the six-week public engagement to find out people’s ideas about running the borough’s libraries better and getting more users.
Croydon’s libraries review aims to maintain and improve the services and resources available, including exploring the possibility of using volunteers for some activities.
Starting today (22 March) and running until 2 May, the engagement period is designed to get as many people as possible – from people who have never used a Croydon library to regulars, community groups and businesses – to give their views on how the service could be improved. These could include ideas such as developing the book stock or community-run libraries.
Accessible via the council’s Get Involved website, the survey will ask people:
1) If they use a library
2) If so, what do they use them for most
3) What they would like libraries to include in future
4) Whether they are interested in volunteering
5) If they have any other comments or suggestions
The focus groups will involve discussions with targeted audiences, including the elderly, young people and those who speak English as a second language.
Once the council has analysed feedback on the focus groups and surveys, it will produce a report later in the summer to help the council’s cabinet shape a new Ambitious for Libraries plan.
Croydon’s 13 fully-staffed and supported libraries are visited almost two million times a year and their 400,000 books are borrowed nearly a million times each year. The council also co-funds Upper Norwood Library. In addition to more traditional services, the borough’s libraries provide free online resources including Wi-Fi, magazines, e-books, research portals and service information.
The council’s annual libraries budget is £4.6m and around 70,000 people are active users, borrowing books or using other services. Many more use the borough’s libraries to study, participate in activities and mix with others from the wider community.
The survey and focus group launch comes weeks after the council announced an agreement with the Upper Norwood Library Trust and Lambeth Council to provide new community facilities like classes and clubs as well as keeping open the existing library at its site in Westow Hill.
“Croydon’s libraries already get two million visits a year, and this plan is all about making them even better, more sustainable and more popular by working with local people.
“Libraries have changed with the times before, and the best way to improve them now is to listen to what the community wants and then develop a tailored plan.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
To take part in the engagement, find out more at: https://getinvolved.croydon.gov.uk
Anyone needing help completing the survey should contact staff at their local library.