Fair is fairer – a message to Lambeth

An Appeal for a Fairer Share of the Libraries Revenue Funding

Although Lambeth’s half of the stipend for the independently-managed Upper Norwood Joint Library appears in her Libraries Budget, we understand that your Head of Libraries and Archives has no say in its magnitude, it being set by this Executive following “Star Chamber” decisions.

Therefore the users of UNJL are most grateful to you for unlocking the freeze on our library’s annual stipend in 2003.  But we hope you will recognise an enduring unfairness to the library that still provides the best service, in our opinion, of any on Lambeth soil.

Our Chief Librarian has made a separate case to you via the Joint Committee for a substantial increase based on need as the dire financial position threatens cuts to the current, excellent service.  We put the argument to you on the basis of fairness and, indeed, reward for efficiency.

  • UNJL is one whole public library – not in any way a “branch” library.

         i.e. it provides 12.5% of Lambeth’s service by this measure.

  • Its catchment population is 29,350 (for whom it is the nearest library).

         This is 10.9% of the population of Lambeth.

  • Its membership is 14,782.

         That equals 20.0% of the membership of the Lambeth Service!

  • Its book-stock is over 50,000.

         That’s 12.3% of the Lambeth stock.

  • Its annual book lending is 102,237.

         i.e. 12.6% of that of the Lambeth Service.

From these figures it is clear that UNJL is providing at least 12% of the service that Lambeth does.

Hence, as it is shared equally with Croydon, UNJL supplies about 6% of Lambeth’s provision.

Despite your improvement in our stipend to £186,000, this still represents only 3.5% of Lambeth’s libraries revenue spending.  So we are obliged to point out that

UNJL is doing 6% of the work for only 3.5% of the money!

We beg you to grant UNJL a fairer proportion of libraries spending so that this independent “exemplar” can restore its finances to good order, as it has plans for improvement (of its book-stock, its opening hours and its floor-space).

The councillors, now mainly local, who serve on the Library Joint Committee believe that a business case has to be made for resources. We want to complement their perspective with a request for more resources based on a fairness argument.

We want to ensure that the Upper Norwood Joint Library thrives for the benefit of users thus helping with the regeneration of the Area.