Merton’s library service has been named the most efficient in the UK. The council was recognised at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards for making savings of 40 per cent to their library service over the last five years while continuing to work with volunteer and partner organisations, extend opening times and introduce self-service technology.

Councilor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for community and culture, and the council’s head of library services, Anthony Hopkins, accepted the award at a ceremony on Wednesday, March 14.

Coun Martin Whelton said: “We are very proud of our library services, and it is great to get the recognition of all our achievements in this area, especially as ours was the only library service in the UK to win an award. We know the value of a good library service to our residents. Our army of over 450 volunteers is the biggest of its kind in any London borough, contributing over 17,600 hours of their valuable time since last April to helping provide this fantastic service. This award is largely attributable to the hard work of our library staff who have embraced change and provide excellent customer care.” LGC editor Emma Maier said of the award winners: “It is testament to the spirit, determination and commitment of local government, and the people who work in it, that despite this enormously challenging time, you have continued to innovate and achieve.”

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