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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Brent Libraries Bucking National Decline

Some time ago, I was challenged about the performance of Brent libraries relative to other authorities.  That is a reasonable test.  Unfortunately the annual CIPFA reports come out too late to give a current picture, but we do have enough information to form some impression of performance relative to the rest of the UK since the decision was taken to go ahead with the Libraries Transformation Project in April 2011.

The graph below shows the performance in visits with Brent as the red line and the entire country as the black line.  Each line shows the change relative to the 2011/12 figures (when Brent still had twelve libraries).


 You can see Brent's figures are surprisingly unaffected by the closure of six libraries in October 2011.  The seven day opening hours and other changes offset any fall, and subsequently visit numbers took off in a really remarkable way, bringing Brent to the highest point for which I have a record.  The black line shows the national falling off which has been going on since at least 2005.  It is shorter as the 2015/16 figures have not been collated yet.

Turning to book loans, there is a similar picture.  The Brent rise is much less marked, but the national decline is similar.

The national figures for these graphs are taken from the recent House of Commons Library report

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