Wandsworth libraries excel again

Published: Monday 19th December 16

Last year was another record year for the council’s libraries network, with the largest number of issues in the capital - 1,432,685.

Battersea Library

All 11 branches have flourished since 2013 when the day-to-day management was outsourced by Wandsworth Council to charitable social enterprise GLL, the country’s largest public libraries provider.

GLL works closely with the council to improve the customer experience when using libraries, and to increase footfall and loans.

The statistics from public service accountancy body  CIPFA  show that in 2015/2016, Wandsworth residents were London’s most voracious library readers – news that Wandsworth Council’s leisure and culture spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook welcomed:

Tooting Library

“The most important thing any council can do to move up the book lending chart is keep libraries open.  Sadly many authorities are closing branches down but here in Wandsworth our network has been preserved and we are building new, state-of-the-art libraries for the next generation. The savings and service improvements we make though working with GLL help to make this possible.”

GLL’s Head of Libraries Diana Edmonds said:

“These new library figures are testament to the difference our social enterprise model brings to delivering services for the community.

“GLL works really hard to improve the libraries that it manages. We focus on providing attractive and welcoming library buildings and interiors, on providing a great stock of books relevant to the communities we serve,  on a really good IT offer and on providing a full programme of activities for all ages.

“Having well-trained library staff who are knowledgeable, innovative and courteous is key to our success and we acknowledge the contribution their hard work has on achieving these results.”

Service improvements and branch upgrades have been key to Wandsworth Libraries’ success in the past few years.

Earlsfield Library has been completely redecorated, Battersea Library has been upgraded and the children’s libraries at Northcote and Tooting have been completely refurbished. Work has now started on a brand new Wandsworth Town  library on Garratt Lane and the council is also developing plans to replace another two existing branches, York Gardens and Roehampton, with new state of the art buildings offering a wide range of modern services.     

There has also been investment in new e-resources and software, new systems to help people get the latest books as quickly and easily as possible. Link-ups with other organisations including Citizens Advice Wandsworth have enabled people to access other public services in their local branch.  

This year’s Wandsworth Library visitors have included Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe on National Libraries Day and Ed Vaizey MP, former Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, launching a national project to help first time IT users span the digital divide. 

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Recent comments

Battersea Park Road Library is excellent in every way.
Jane Heany

24 December 2016