Another great year for Wandsworth libraries
Published: Friday 15th December 17
The borough’s library network has had another bumper year with almost a million and a half books issued.
The latest figures from public service accountancy body CIPFA show that in 2016/2017 Wandsworth residents borrowed the second highest number of books in London – 1,414, 828. This is roughly the same as the previous year’s figures, showing the borough’s love of books and libraries remains strong.
The borough also performed strongly in the amount of children’s books issued - 718,244. Again this was the second highest amount in London.
Wandsworth has 11 library branches which 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 keep standards high. This includes new e-resources and software, cloud-based printing and photocopying, more e-books, shorter waiting times for reserved items, free wi-fi and access to computers and an extensive programme of free events including children’s craft activities and story times, author readings and adult learning classes.
Investment has also been made to improve the library buildings themselves, including improvements to Battersea, Earlsfield, Tooting and York Gardens libraries.
Children from St Boniface Primary School at Tooting Library for the UK’s largest Dog Read in October
Councillors have approved plans for a new Northcote Library and there will be new York Gardens and Roehampton libraries as part of major estate regeneration schemes. Work is expected to start soon on a new Wandsworth Town library as part of the regeneration of Wandsworth town centre.
Wandsworth Council’s leisure and culture spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook welcomed the latest lending figures. “One of the reasons so many books have been lent in Wandsworth is because we have kept all 11 branches open. Our partnership with GLL has enabled us not only maintain our network – at a time when many local authorities are closing libraries – but actually improve the library service.
“I’m especially pleased to see the high number of children’s books borrowed. We know that young people who regularly read do better in school, so making sure they have access to a neighbourhood library where they can read, do their homework, borrow books and access computers helps give them a good chance of getting on in life.”
GLL’s National Libraries Director Diana Edmonds said: “GLL loves libraries and it seems from these figures that our customers agree we are doing a great job of running them. Our social enterprise model is different – we don’t have shareholders to pay and instead we can invest in the service and we’ve got a wealth of experience to contribute to our communities.
“In less advantaged areas our free WiFi and computer time is a huge draw and we will continue to invest in technology, facilities and service improvements to ensure they keep us at the forefront of library services nationally.”
Keep up to date with news and events in Wandsworth libraries by following @wandsworthlibs on Twitter.