As Croydon reach the final hurdles of the Procurement process for Library services it is still unclear what will happen to Upper Norwood Library.
Independently run for 112 years and funded jointly by Croydon and Lambeth, Upper Norwood boasts unprecedented membership levels of 44% of the local community thanks to the tailored services it provides. Incredibly it does this at 50% of the cost per capita of most other London libraries and costs per member that are 7 times lower than Croydon’s own costs.
Sarah Bashford, the councillor in charge of Croydon Libraries says "closure is not an option for us" and "We got the message loud and clear that these are important community facilities that must be kept open as a matter of priority.” However, Croydon have removed the funding for Upper Norwood which will effectively close this vibrant Victorian library which draws around 1000 people to the high street per day. Not only will this reduce literacy, employment prospects and social mobility but it will have a dramatic impact on footfall on the high street and the local economy.
Why is it that Croydon are considering venture capitalists and other London Councils to run our library services and yet are unwilling to consider running them based on the Independent Upper Norwood Library model; a tried and tested way of improving efficiency, services and lowering costs. Croydon’s strategy allows another council or corporation to bank the benefits that should be secured in house and passed on to council tax payers.
Croydon seem to find Upper Norwood Library an embarrassment and are hoping it will go away quietly, however, their Library campaign www.unlc.org.uk is growing momentum and they have no such plans.
Based on information supplied by .