I paid a visit to Perivale library on Friday afternoon. You have to choose your time – it is only open 33.5 hours a week compared to the 48 hours which Northolt Leisure Centre Library is open, 43% more. It was quiet with only two people in but it was just before 5pm on a Friday afternoon which would be a quiet time in any library. Notably one on a library PC and the other using the quiet to work on his laptop.
Perivale library is an attractive interwar building with some nice features. I would be pleased to have it as my local library but it looks slightly tired and is subsiding – it needs a lot of concrete under one corner, a big job. The council calculate that it needs £527,500 spending on it. I quite believe it, but you could do this job 11 times over for the money the council wants to spend on the Southall car park.
Perivale is the 4th ranked in terms of cost per book actually borrowed so is very efficient for such a small library. It only has two staff. In terms of cost per visitor it was 2nd worst in 2009/10. But if its few visitors are actually borrowing books then OK with me. On a positive note visits look set to increase 47% in 20010/11 so the situation is much better even on that measure.
It is all very well the council producing maps showing how Perivale people could travel further to get to other libraries but the maps ignore the geography. Perivale is cut off from the rest of the borough by the A40 to the south and Horsenden Hill to the North. Closing this library would leave a large number of people more than a mile from a library.