Edit, 03/12– for those of you who do not know, Tim (Coates) was the consultant on the Hillingdon library restructuring. /Edit
As I said over at the GLG blog, it is encouraging to see the increase in book loans at the first of the revamped Hillingdon libraries.
As I have said in a follow up comment, we now need to know what people make of the new physical environment- this, as much as the (apparently still to be delivered) new books, will determine if the initial increase is sustained. There has been a mixed reception to the design. Having only seen photos I can’t say as it looks that impressive, but perhaps close up it is.
As a library manager, I would also want to know who is borrowing these books. Have new readers been added? And what books are being borrowed?
Longer term there is the issue, highlighted by opposition councillors, of the changes in staffing structure and the potential impact on service. We shall have to see on that.
One amusing point is the ‘sweet talking’ by Cllr Higgins of Apple. Yeah, top negotiating skills there- persuading a big company to take free publicity in return for a few computers. And why Apple? If you want to stick it to the IntelSoft Man, why not go with local PC suppliers and Linux? And if it’s all about money- which I suspect it is- why not just go with Windows? The involvement of Starbucks and Apple just makes me wonder about some of the financial aspects that have been so prominent- is this how savings are made? Edit As I have said in the comments, it is not a problem to make savings via the involvement of outside firmsMuch less am I implying any impropriety. Rather this is of a piece with my concern that public libraries reflect their communities and support local enterprise where possible. /Edit
Welcome to the Public-Private Library. My objections are not to efficiencies, or saving via alternative funding streams. Rather I would hope for local firms to be approached before big names- part of my broader concern that public libraries reflect their locale. Although, having a Starbucks (or Costa, or Caffe Nero…) these days is probably quite reflective of many areas.