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Lewisham has 11 branch libraries. Only three have active User Groups. Together these groups successfully stopped the Council's proposals for closure in 1999. These are listed below.

Branch Libraries
Manor House
Crofton Park
Grove Park

Picture© Jean Lindsey

Lewisham Library User Groups successfully saved
three libraries from closure in November 1999. Blackheath
Village and Manor House Libraries have produced a
document outlining their successful strategy.

You can obtain a copy by contacting the Users &
Friends of Manor House Library on
020 8852 9301

or email their Chair at
[email protected]

Unbeknown to any of Lewishams local electorate the elected Mayor of Lewisham decided to set up "The Mayors Commission on Libraries and Learning". The smoke and mirrors associated with this exercise are described in the Lewisham Files.

The Performance of Lewisham Libraries
The recent performance of the 12 Lewisham libraries is charted at LewPerformance.htm and summarized below:

Library Issues Trend Visits Trend
Manor House Flat Up
Blackheath Village Up Down
Lewisham Central Down Down
Catford Down Flat
Downham Flat Flat
Forrest Hill Flat Flat
Wavelengths Down Flat
Crofton Park Up Flat
Grove Park Down Flat
New Cross Up Flat
Sydenham Down Down
Torridon Road Up Up

The Lewisham libraries performance trends present a mixed picture, as in most boroughs. That the issues figures are improving in several libraries is a hopeful sign. It appears that what is shown is a case of work in progress. There is some hope that, when the 80 hr/wk opening regime is fully rolled out, a positive step change in performance will be found to have occurred in most libraries.

The challenge then will be to sustain the improvement. One well-known management effect which is probably occurring to some extent in Lewishams libraries is the Hawthorne Effect. This predicts that the performance of previously neglected organisations will improve dramatically, when changes are introduced to that organisation. It does not matter what the changes are. The improvement is caused by the fact that people react positively when some notice is taken of them. If neglect is reinstated, the performance will fall again.

A warning: the long term trend of an issues/visits data series can be greatly affected by a refurbishment closure. When this is protracted, as for Manor House, after the reopening the trend will appear to have improved more than it actually has.

AT May 09

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