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

Justine Gosling, centre, with travel writer Charley Boorman, left, and professional rock climber Leo Houlding, right. Picture: Stewart Smith

A physiotherapist at the Royal Free Hospital is to run, hike and cycle the entire length of the “Iron Curtain” – with a little help from renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and celebrity travellers Ben Fogle and Charley Boorman.

Yesterday, 12:30
Councillor Abdul Hai has been campaigner for extended hours at coroner's courts for years

The government has announced a review into out-of-hours coroner services after members of Muslim and Jewish communities complained they were being prevented from providing their loved ones with proper religious burials.

Yesterday, 08:00
Lindsey Wylie (centre) with the stars of All That Fall at the Jermyn Street Theatre, Dame Eileen Atkins (left) and Michael Gambon. Picture: Polly Hancock

Lindsey Wylie is the founder of the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation (AWTF) charity for disadvantaged children, which she set up in 2010 following the tragic death of her 17-year-old daughter Alexandra from cancer. She lives in Highgate with her family.

Fri, 17:28
Edward the Sloth is being taught to feed and climb by surrogate mothers

Keepers at London Zoo have enlisted a teddy to help them rear a baby male sloth after his mother became unable to feed him.

Most read news

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

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder