Croydon Libraries Commission: Upper Norwood Joint Library

June 2011

The Upper Norwood JointLibrary Campaign commissioned AWICS to provide a report on value for money in2011. This report is available on the AWICS website.

The analysis is on thebasis of examining the costs, performance and value for money of two wholelibrary authorities (Lambeth and Croydon) in proportionate comparison with awhole smaller library authority (the Upper Norwood Joint Library Authority).

The analysis uses‘neutral’ and standard measures of value for money, such as inclusive, averagecost per library site, inclusive cost per 1,000 residents served, inclusivecost per library visit and inclusive cost per library issue.

The Upper Norwood JointLibrary operates as a small scale library authority (as opposed to a componentsite of a larger conventional library authority) it is, in practice, a librarysystem in microcosm carrying out many functions that would not be dealt with byan individual library anywhere else. This means that it is impossible tocompare the costs and performance of the Upper Norwood Joint Library with anyother individual library because no other library ‘stands alone’. Every otherindividual library is centrally supported (in terms of people, services andcosts) with assistance from the wider libraries department, the culturedirectorate and the corporate council as a whole. These support costs can be asmuch as 46% of the total library service budget (as in the case of Croydon) anda detailed breakdown of what they comprise is rarely, if ever, provided. Incontrast, all of the Joint Library’s spending is fully exposed and open toscrutiny with detailed accounts published each year.

For full briefing paper please click here.

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