20 October 2015

Library Visits and Borrowing in Lewisham

Using two different reports to the council it has been possible to see the changes in library usage since the first community libraries were set up in 2011. The figures are detailed below:

Library Type Visitors in Oct 2010 Visitors in Oct 2014 % Change in visitors ...... Borrowing in Oct 2010 Borrowing in Oct 2014 % Change in borrowing
Lewisham Council 31,855 31,756 0% 22,025 17,387 -21%
Deptford Council n/a 39,561 -n/a 10,387 -
Forest Hill Council 12,208 14,266 17%
9,461 8,853 -6%
Downham Council 35,799 30,692 -14% 8,853 7,307 -17%
Catford Council 23,973 18,975 -21% 10,197 6,905 -32%
Manor House Council 17,749 19,533 10% 9,779 5,952 -39%
Torridon Road Council n/a 5,085 -n/a 4,101 -
Crofton Park Community 7,550 8,000 6% 6,036 2,419 -60%
Blackheath Community 7,897 10,548 34% 5,044 1,672 -67%
Sydenham Community 5,382 6,570 22% 4,035 934 -77%
New Cross Community 4,033 6,113 52% 2,770 726 -74%
Grove Park Community 3,743 3,692 -1% 3,764 391 -90%
Libraries ordered by October 2014 borrowing figures.
Full Excel download available with all years.

Three trends emerge over time:
1. Visitor numbers to community libraries have increased faster than other libraries in Lewisham.
2. Book borrowing is on a general downward path.
3. Decline in book borrowing has been far worse in community libraries.

Looking specifically at Forest Hill Library, the decline in borrowing has been least of all Lewisham libraries. Forest Hill has also seen the largest increase in visitors of all council run libraries (not including Deptford and Torridon Road which were not open in 2010).

Community libraries are almost certainly better than no library at all, and volunteers have worked hard to make these smaller libraries work, but based on the experience with existing community libraries over four years, transferring more libraries to Community management is likely to result in massive reductions in borrowing (core library services).

The Forest Hill Society opposes the community model as a method of providing services in Forest Hill Library and believe it will have a negative impact on children and adults in the local area.

We urge you to complete the survey provided by Lewisham council on cutting library services and make your views known.

06 October 2015

Vote for Water for Horniman Play Park

Vote now!

For a number of years Horniman Triangle Play Park has been without water, we are looking to change that.

The Play Park has lots of equipment designed for use with water, sadly the hand pump was broken off, replaced, vandalised,and removed for health and safety reasons. We have looked at various options to bring water back to this play equipment, and the simplest is to replace this hand pump with a drinking fountain - a tap that provides a small amount of water when pressed for drinking or for filling buckets to play in the sand and play equipment.

To make this happen we need approximately £3,000 according to the council (this is no ordinary tap, it is a council approved drinking fountain that will hopefully withstand the type of use it will get from small children).

We have submitted a bid to the OneFamily foundation for a grant to make this happen, all we need now is your vote.

You will be asked to register on the site, which is easy to do with Facebook, Twitter, or Email address. This is so that they can prevent multiple voting and it will not post anything to your social media account and you should not get advertising emails from the organisation.

In the past the local community has been brilliant at supporting these types of on-line votes, so please vote and share on social media to encourage your friends to support this project.

05 October 2015

Forest Hill Society AGM

Member and non-members are welcome to the 10th Forest Hill Society AGM on Thursday 22nd October, 7:30pm at the Honor Oak Pub, St German's Road / Brockley Rise. Meeting takes place upstairs in the 'Whisky Room'.

We are always keen for new people to join the Executive committee of the Forest Hill Society. So if you are a long-term resident or moved in last week, you would be perfect to join the committee and work with a team that have a track record of helping make Forest Hill a better place to live.

Forest Hill Library under Threat

Lewisham council are consulting about options for library services in the borough. Forest Hill lends the third most books (after Lewisham and Deptford) but is under threat of reduced opening hours or Lewisham council's preferred option of transferring management to a community group.

Transfer to community libraries in Crofton Park and Sydenham have resulted in reduced lending with three times the number of books issued from the two libraries in 2010 compared to 2014 (based on October figures). By contrast, Forest Hill library lending in 2014 is at 94% of the 2010 level, higher than any other library in the borough.

You can find out more about the proposals at:
​Wednesday 7 October, 7:30pm,    ​Broadway Theatre, Catford
​Monday 19 October, 7:30pm,    ​Sydenham School, Dartmouth Road

Or you can respond to the online consultation.

01 October 2015

The Forest with the Big Hill presents: The Mouse Bride and other Indian Tales

Stories for children
The Mouse Bride and other Indian Tales
at Seniors, 260 Stanstead Road, SE23 1DD
Tales of wise kings, foolish men, proud elephants, and a mice family – join international storyteller Peter Chand for a collection of some of his favourite stories.
Peter has performed all over Britain as well as in Canada, Singapore, Ireland, Austria,  France and other countries.

Suitable for 6 years and over.