167,004 lost library visits: the true cost of closures


Brent SOS Libraries today reveals the true extent of the damage caused by the library closures in the London borough of Brent.

On Monday night, a “progress” report presented misleading and incorrect information on the so-called “Libraries Transformation Project” to the new Labour executive. Brent SOS Libraries responded with its May 2012 Brent SOS Libraries Report, which shows:

  • There have been 167,004 fewer library visits since half of the borough’s libraries were closed in October compared with the same period year on year.
  • 158,809 fewer books have been issued.
  • Library visits and lending have fallen 20% will continue to fall with the imminent closure of Kilburn and demolition of Willesden Green libraries.
  • This has been a net loss of 191 opening hours per week.

Most of the users of the closed libraries ARE NOT USING the remaining libraries, as the council claims. The report that went before the council on Monday failed to mention these key indicators and misrepresented a failing, wasteful service as a success.

Brent SOS LIbrary campaigners hold placards outside Brent Town Hall

Representatives of the six closed libraries (Barham, Cricklewood, Neasden, Kensal Rise, Preston and Tokyngton), and of Willesden Green, which is due to be demolished this summer, also made presentations.

This data will also be considered by Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), which is investigating whether Brent Council has breached its statutory duties.

Brent SOS Libraries was asked last month to give evidence to the DCMS of Brent Council’s use of misleading and incorrect data, and of the effects of the withdrawal of the library service on local communities.

Brent SOS Libraries campaigner Samantha Warrington said: “Young people in Brent are working hard to pass their GCSEs and A levels, and the loss of study space and facilities in the local libraries closed by this administration will only make their lives harder.”

May 2012 Brent SOS Libraries Report