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Friday 15 May 2015

Of Fire Drills and Library User Numbers

A comment on my post of a couple of days ago tries to account for the rise in user numbers in Brent Libraries by arguing it is all down to passing traffic in Wembley Library.  I find this far fetched. 

Firstly the numbers refer to all six Brent libraries, not just Wembley.  They include, for example, a substantial rise in usage at Kilburn Library.

Secondly, the big rise in visits is very hard to explain simply through fire drills at Wembley Library.  Wembley Library certainly can be accessed en route from the main building to the outside, as could the old Brent Town Hall Library, and I dare say for a fire drill you would use all available exits from the building.  The Civic Centre, like the former Brent Town Hall, has such exists on all four sides.  In both cases I imagine the library formed a route in and out of the building for fire drill purposes.

The Brent Town Hall Library in its last full year of operation had 200k visits.  Wembley Library this year had 1,170k (rounded).  I just can't see a serious of fire drills making up a gap of 970k visits.  The old Town Hall had about 2,000 people working there, just as the Civic Centre now has.  If we assume that a quarter of the employees leave through Wembley Library during a fire drill, which I would think a pretty generous measure, that means 500 people leaving through the exit per fire drill.  Assuming they go back in the same way at the end of the drill, we would need Brent to hold about four fire drills every working day in addition to whatever was the practice at the Town Hall to account for the extra Wembley Library numbers.  I would imagine that would take several hours out of each day, and does not strike me as plausible.

The determined opponents of Brent Libraries really do just have to accept that Brent libraries are better used than they were in 2011. 

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