A library with twice the services and half the running costs.

A UK library blueprintAs one of the UK’s only truly independently managed libraries it is fully autonomous on everything from book buying to cleaning services and, free from Local Council constraints, this independence has enabled the library to negotiate exceptional deals on book buying, IT and facilities.

 Please read AWICS Independent review of Upper Norwood Library[1] for an independent study of Upper Norwood Library and a comparison the other local library services

Upper Norwood library is recognised as London’s most cost efficient and amongst the best run in the country. The costs are £13-£14 per capita and 50% of those in most London Boroughs (1). Its high membership levels (44%) bring costs per member down to £28, compared to £207 in Croydon and £197 in Lambeth.(2)

 

As one of the UK’s only truly independently managed libraries it is fully autonomous on everything from book buying to cleaning services and, free from Local Council constraints, this independence has enabled the library to negotiate exceptional deals on book buying, IT and facilities.

 The library’s focus on a cost efficient service ensures that all staff are customer facing, that there are no costly senior management and that a far greater percentage of funds are spent on its 67000 books and its state of the art IT suite. Only 18% of Upper Norwood’s budget is spent on Back Office activity compared to Croydon libraries that spend 45% or £3.3m (3)

 The Upper Norwood Joint Library pays for every aspect of the provision, operation, support, development and management of its services on a self-contained ‘standalone’ and self-supporting basis. The only exceptions are the provision of secretarial services and financial support and advice, together with payroll and payments reconciliation service that are provided on a non-paid for / gratis basis by Croydon Council. These services are valued at just over £20,000 a year.

Information taken from the following sources:
 (1)  Chartered Institute of Private Finance and Accountancy statistics 2007-2008 used in the UNJL chief librarians report of 27 January 2011(2)  Based on analysis from Mott MacDonald working with Eight Twenty Insight consultants during phase 3 of the London libraries change programme(3)  Timothy Godfrey Croydon Councillor’s paper Protecting and developing Croydon Libraries from June 2011