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 News Stories

Yesterday, 18:36
Ambulance

A man has been arrested on suspicion of drunk and dangerous driving and failing to stop after a 25-year-old was hit by a car outside Camden Road station on Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
International cosmetic surgery expert Cindy Jackson and Ian Carmichael, the Queen’s personal hair stylist, will both be speaking at the event at Lauderdale House

Highgate resident and international cosmetic surgery expert Cindy Jackson is helping Lauderdale House raise funds for a building project to transform its future.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Naushad Faruk. Picture: Central News.

A glamour model from Camden sobbed as she described how a cameraman persuaded her to engage in a sex act with him by threatening to take away the Chihuahua puppy he had given her as a gift.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Jihadi John

The secondary school that ISIS executioner ‘Jihadi John’ attended in St John’s Wood has said it is ‘shocked and sickened by the news’.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

And while we’re at it, why don’t we sell all the Queen’s homes and move her and Phil into a two-bed in Grimsby?

Technology experts have been giving their verdict on the first big smartphone offerings of 2015.

The Korean smartphone giants made the announcement at their Unpacked event ahead of Mobile World Congress.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder