Council’s £150,000 for digital zone with 12 libraries part-closed

The council has been given a £150,000 Government grant to create what its propaganda department calls “an energy-efficient, accessible digital discovery zone” at Croydon Central Library.

Random: this is the image used by the council to illustrate their ‘digital zones’ in public libraries press release

Croydon Council currently has responsibility for 13 public libraries around the borough (Upper Norwood Library is operated by an independent trust).

Of the 13 libraries, only one, Central, operates anything like “normally”, and is open for five days each week. Of the others, some are open just two days each week, as a consequence of the council spending cuts.

Proving that there remains strong demand for library services, Croydon Central Library, next to the Town Hall on Katharine Street, receives 25,000 visits a month, according to figures from the council, who say that the library is “the only provider of free public wifi and IT access in the town centre”.

In a press release issued this week, the council said, “Demand for wifi, study spaces and access to computers is increasing.”

Short measures: under Mayor Perry, some of Croydon’s public libraries, such as Coulsdon, are closed more than they are open

The council said, “The council is planning a redesign of the library space with a focus on digital inclusion – particularly for the borough’s most vulnerable residents who may struggle to access online services and resources and need a quiet place to study.” Which is especially the case when 12 of the borough’s public libraries are closed for four or five days every week…

“The council has already invested in providing free wifi and full-fibre broadband across Central Library. The digital discovery zone project will introduce enhanced wifi and create a flexible lounge and dedicated accessible meeting spaces for workshops, study sessions and to support learning and other activities,” the council said.

The council provided no other information about how the six-figure sum is to be spent, nor explaining what “an energy-efficient, accessible digital discovery zone” might offer to library users.

Croydon was one of five London boroughs successful in its bid for a grant from the government’s Cultural Investment Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

And as is the press office’s practice with their press releases, they included a quote from part-time Mayor Jason Perry, the man behind the borough’s 15per cent Council Tax hike and the latest round of £32million-worth of spending cuts.

Perry may have said, “Wibble, wibble, wibble, residents. Blah, blah, blah potential. Gurgle, gurgle, community.”

Read more: Council’s payroll staff vote to strike over redundancy plans
Read more: Here’s the Mayor and 33 Croydon Tory councillors who THREE times voted in favour of hitting you with a 15% Council Tax hike


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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3 Responses to Council’s £150,000 for digital zone with 12 libraries part-closed

  1. derekthrower says:

    To add to Part-Time’s credentials as Mayor, can we now add he is virtually part-time in cyberspace too?

  2. Laurence Fisher says:

    At long last, Croydon has got the type of mayor it so thoroughly deserves. Surely he can see a connection between himself and the Marx brothers? Or would that take one more brain cell more than he possesses to figure that out.
    Just imagine for one moment – a new full council lot to properly run the place, but, the catch is no payment. You watch things being done properly very suddenly. Where victims become the victors.
    Nothing is impossible. I’d gladly do it.

  3. Chris Flynn says:

    Well done to Croydon for securing a grant. More please!

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