Search

Camden library closure plan a sham say users

09:53 06 June 2011

Camden Public Libraries Users Group meeting to fight possible Library Closures at Belsize Library; L-R. Shaku Woodrow,Alan Templeton,Honora Morrissey,Lee Montague,Loulou Brown,Margot Kafno,Ron Watts & Sharon Ridsdale

Camden Public Libraries Users Group meeting to fight possible Library Closures at Belsize Library; L-R. Shaku Woodrow,Alan Templeton,Honora Morrissey,Lee Montague,Loulou Brown,Margot Kafno,Ron Watts & Sharon Ridsdale

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Library users are outraged at Camden’s plans to transfer the responsibility for running and financing Belsize, Chalk Farm and Heath libraries to residents.

Under plans which go before the council cabinet on Wednesday, councillors are expected to vote to reduce opening hours at all of the borough’s 13 libraries by 10 per cent and give the go-ahead for three to be transferred to community groups from 2013, as part of the council’s £2million cost-cutting drive to its libraries budget.

Supporters of the libraries fear the move could signal the end for all three, which cost more than £500,000 a year to run.

Two other proposals involve closing seven libraries or reducing opening hours at all 13 by 35 per cent, and transferring Chalk Farm and Belsize to the community. Residents who took part in the consultation have dismissed it as a sham and accused the council of ignoring their wishes to keep all libraries open.

Chalk Farm library representative Philippa Jackson, 38, said: “We are horrified by the proposals, particularly as we were proactive in seeking alternative models. We seem to have shot ourselves in the foot by engaging with them.

“We will do whatever we can to keep it a public service library and councillors who vote to close them will be punished at the next election.”

Alan Templeton, Camden Public Libraries User Group chairman, said: “Without using any four letter words, this report is a mish-mash without any real thought behind it, apart from saving the senior officers’ posts.

“We have a different attitude to the library service. It’s a service for the community which supports literacy in a city which is very deficient in that.”

Tony Hillier, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society questioned why the council had left so little time between the report’s publication last Friday, and Wednesday’s meeting.

But culture boss Tulip Siddiq said that the decision to target the three libraries was based on users expressing an interest in volunteering, the proximity of libraries in the area and an equality impact assessment.

Campaigners urge anyone worried about libraries to attend a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday at the Town Hall at 6.30pm.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:55

Police are appealing for witnesses after the death of a woman who was hit by a coach in Camden.

Yesterday, 16:38

A City boss from Hampstead likened to the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ has been jailed for a year after sexually assaulting two women.

Yesterday, 16:34

A pedestrian was hit by a car in South Grove in a road traffic collision this afternoon.

Yesterday, 13:27

Welcome, hope and tolerance have been the three key messages for students learning about refugees.

Thu, 17:30

Camden Council has claimed a “major victory” after Airbnb announced today that it will limit entire home listings to 90 days a year in London.

Thu, 16:53

Haringey has the third-highest proportion of homeless residents in England, new figures have revealed.

Thu, 16:31

In the first of a series written from the Greek town of Thessaloniki, currently home to more than 20,000 refugees, a trainee journalist from Kentish Town writes about her life as a volunteer

Thu, 15:24

A pair of Barnet schools believe the future is bright after announcing a “strategic partnership” on Monday.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now