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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Wembley Library Third Biggest in the Country

A Guardian analysis of public libraries has named Wembley Library as the third biggest in the UK.  That is an astounding achievement given that the old Town Hall Library wasn't even the biggest in Brent when the Libraries Transformation Project was started back in 2011. The scale of the change can be seen in the graph I posted here

At that time Brent Town Hall library had only 166k annual visits which rose to 200k in its final year.  The last annual total for Wembley Library, as published by CIPFA, show 1,169,735 visits, a colossal increase.  I wonder what those who called for Wembley Library to be scaled down, or even scrapped altogether, think of that?  Perhaps they will concede that whatever they think of other aspects of the project, Wembley Library has been a success.

Or perhaps they won't. 

Otherwise the national picture for libraries is bleak.  Overall visits fell from 276 million to 265 million last year (down 3.9%).  They have fallen by 14% since David Cameron became Prime Minister.  In contrast Brent libraries have been rising in both visits and book loans, with an overall rise in visits that year of 27.6%.  I have been able to trace Brent library visit numbers back to 2007/8, and they are now at their highest level during the whole of that time.  Judging by the half year figures for this year, that trend is likely to continue, and I expect that the full year figures will go up the year after this as the complete effect of the new Willesden Library becomes evident. 

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