Money saved, branches open, (staff retained?)

Tim Coates reports on his work with Hillingdon.

Other than the Starbucks thing- the coffee is average and the atmosphere faintly annoying- there seems to be little to complain about. Unless you like RFID.

The proof is to come of course. Money will be saved, we are told; the accounts will prove it. Visitor figures and loan stats will show us if the refurb and new stock help.

I wish Hillingdon well. If it works, it works. And there seems, as yet, to be no hint of staff cuts. Update: now there are hints that there will be staff cuts.


5 Responses to Money saved, branches open, (staff retained?)

  1. Miriam Palfrey says:

    I see that outreach work is to be scaled back too.

    God forbid that anyone who hasn’t been brought up to use the library on a regular basis should be encouraged to use it in any way. Much better that middle-class housewives can have somewhere new to drink overpriced coffee instead…

  2. Pete says:

    I have asked him what the nature of this work was and how the money is being rechannelled.

    I think on the whole we should wish Hillingdon well. If the basic plan works, then outreach can always be worked back in.

    I’m not happy about the Starbucks thing no. I’d rather a decent local coffee shop. And the ‘agreed to site’ thing, as if Starbucks were being so nice and community minded πŸ˜‰

    The proof will be in the visitor and loan figures.

  3. Tim Coates says:


    So why shouldn’t one design a library to be attractive to ‘middle class housewives’ ?


  4. Pete says:


    I can’t speak for Miriam.

    Personally, I think one should design a library that appeals to *everyone* Difficult I know, but it should be the aim.

    It may well be that a library designed for middle class housewives- such as many people of my acquaintance- might well appeal to all people.

    I think the concern is that by appearing to focus on any one group- be they teenagers, middle aged folk or what- you automatically exclude other groups.

    Really design shouldn’t be with anyone in mind. Just a good collection, in comfy surroundings, with good staff.

    I stand by the Starbucks thing mind you. But that’s a personla preference thing πŸ˜‰

  5. Tim says:

    This is a fascinating problem– but not one that is new. For example clothes designers and shop designers and architects of public spaces all over the world grapple with it all the time. They have to get it right. If you look at their work – the best not the tawdry- you will see how they apporach the questions.

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