Croydon Council has today (Thursday) begun a consultation asking residents for their ideas and feedback on how to shape the borough’s libraries service amid tighter budget controls.
In response to the borough’s unprecedented financial deficit, the council has launched an online survey asking residents how they use the libraries service and what their views are on proposals to close five of its 13 library buildings.
The buildings at Bradmore Green, Shirley, Sanderstead, South Norwood and Broad Green will close unless viable alternative plans are found that cost no public money. These five libraries have expensive long-term maintenance costs and dropping visitor numbers.
Under the proposals, the council would keep eight library buildings, its digital libraries service and the home library service, which delivers books to members who cannot borrow them in person.
After the survey closes on 7 March, the council will use feedback received to consult on detailed options in April and May before a final cabinet decision this summer. Working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the council will ensure it meets the statutory requirement to have a comprehensive and efficient library service.
In recent years the council has modernised its libraries service, especially access to high-speed broadband and the online library, which has attracted 1,800 new members since April. Through partnership with The Libraries Consortium, local people can access more than six million books from 200 libraries, plus 41,000 e-books, thousands of online newspapers, and hundreds of e-magazines.
“These proposals are about continuing as much as possible of our excellent and comprehensive libraries service while addressing the council’s significant financial challenges.
“We intend to keep open at least eight buildings and our wide-ranging digital access but we also face some tough decisions, so I urge anyone with an interest in our libraries to take part in this consultation and help shape the future service.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture and regeneration
To take part in the consultation, visit the council website to fill out the survey online, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or, to request a paper survey, call 020 7884 5159 or write to us at: Croydon Central Library, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET.