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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Shelving the Issue... for the moment

Returning once more to the case of Preston Community Library, I thought I would take a closer look at the few details given of its planned spending.  It says it will spend £36,500 on shelving.  That is a lot.  If you went to IKEA and bought cheaper end "Billy" bookcases, you could get just over a thousand of them, which would give you a bit more than 12,000 feet of shelving.  Let us call that say a dozen volumes per foot, and that is about 140,000 volumes.

There is no point in being too exact in these figures as they could vary hugely depending on how it was done.


The total capacity of Kilburn library is about 32,000 so 140,000 volumes is a lot.  Assuming that the stock if bought at say £8 or £9 per volume (the cheaper end of the pricing I would have thought), and you are looking at a bookstock fund of about £1.2 million.  If the institution wanted more specialist items (e.g. foreign languages, large textbooks, a lot of audio books) I would imagine the prices would be higher.  £1.2 million would be about three times Brent's annual bookstock fund.

Where is that money going to come from?

There is no direct mention of most of the information technology which many people now consider essential to a library, or other services such as Wifi, e-lending, periodicals and so on.  There is also no mention of things that have triggered challenges in other places such as provision of training, facilities management and so on.

To make this building available in a way remotely comparable to a Brent Library would incur all sorts of costs that appear not to be budgeted for.

Are the Costs Realistic?

Again perhaps all these costs have just been slapped together without being thought through.  The same document budgets more than £18,000 for a reception desk.  I assume that is a lot more than what IKEA would charge.  I assume it comes with lots of red carpet.


My suspicion is that although the Brent Executive were told that their grant of almost £280k would be a one off, the Preston group will soon be back demanding another load of Danegeld and will cut up nasty if they don't get paid.  I don't think that is how public authorities should make decisions. 

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