Merton Council has been shortlisted for a Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award after transforming its library service – making it the most efficient in London, with more people using it than ever before.
To be shortlisted, the council successfully demonstrated new ways of working for its library service. Merton has kept all libraries open, and made changes including extending opening hours and ensuring the service remains financially resilient, while making significant savings during challenging economic times.
Transforming the service has meant establishing a partnership with Volunteer Centre Merton to enlist volunteer support, working with children’s centres to deliver storytimes along with other partner agencies to provide extra services throughout the borough’s libraries. The installation of self-service technology has also delivered significant savings and has enabled staff to focus on improving customer service.
Merton Council cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Martin Whelton said: “Being shortlisted for this prestigious award is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our library team and our army of volunteers from the local community.
“They have managed to transform our libraries and help us to run the most cost-efficient library service in London. As a council we work in partnership with Volunteer Centre Merton and now have 302 volunteers in our libraries – a fantastic achievement which I warmly welcome.
“Our new approach has also meant that we can keep our libraries open for over 28.5 hours extra each week, which has seen rising satisfaction in our residents’ survey with figures above the London average.’
Notes to editors
The Merton model of volunteering is being adapted across library services in London following a £100,000 grant from Team London.
For more information on Merton’s library services please visit: http://www.merton.gov.uk/libraries