Blantern promises library data improvement

Blantern promises library data improvement

The chair of the Leadership for Libraries task force has promised to look into how better data can be provided on library numbers and usage, following arguments on whether the number of children using libraries has gone up or down.
 
Paul Blantern, chief executive of the Northamptonshire county council and chair of the task force, told The Bookseller that currently “the information is not good enough” and he is hiring a data analyst to look into where the gaps are in library information provision.
 
“We need more accurate information on usage and how many libraries we have. The fact that we are debating the data shows that no-one knows the truth,” he said. “People are drawing conclusions when the evidence is not there.”
 
“We are responsible, as an industry, in making sure the evidence is there and we've already started. We are hiring a data analyst to do a data collection on what data we do have, then we will be able to identify the gaps that need to be filled.”
 
The task force is also in conversation with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), about the data they collect for their annual reports into library loans, he added.
 
Blantern said all the library lobbying groups need to have a “single version of the truth”, although he did add that the industry should not get too hung up on data. “Let's celebrate all the good and innovative things that are happening in libraries at the moment. We know children are coming into libraries, we just need to continue to attract them.”