Volunteers set to run three Camden libraries

17:42 10 June 2011

Community organisations will have to run and finance Heath, Belsize and Chalk Farm libraries from 2013, after the council approved plans to cut £1.6m from the libraries budget.

This means that volunteers will now have to come up with a business plan to finance the three libraries – which currently cost Camden more than £500,000 a year.

The council has pledged to finance the libraries for one year with “transitional” funding.

Cabinet member for culture and the environment, Labour councillor Tulip Siddiq led the re-organisation of the libraries’ service.

She told the council chamber on Wednesday night that councillors had not been elected to close libraries but the changes were needed because of the government’s cuts to local authorities.

“These are not decisions we’ve enjoyed taking but we are making the best of a bad situation and will try to help with the transition funding,” Cllr Siddiq said.

As part of the changes, there will also be a 10 per cent reduction in library opening hours, the mobile library will close, Highgate Library will have to share its facilities with other council services and Regent’s Park Library will offer IT and education services.

The Local Studies and Archives service, currently based in Holborn Library, is set to be moved but will remain in the borough.

There was one small reprieve for archive users, the cabinet agreed to reduce the funding cut from £135,000 to £70,000.

The cuts will result in 35 job losses across Camden’s 13 libraries.

Alan Templeton, chairman of the Camden Public Libraries User Group, made a deputation at the meeting. He asked the cabinet to consider ditching the officers’ plan and instead, reduce opening hours at all of the borough’s libraries, supplementing paid staff with a borough-wide volunteer system.

But finance boss, Theo Blackwell told the chamber that delaying the decision would cost the council £800,000.

More than 6,000 people responded to a consultation on the libraries after Camden announced it was looking at how to make £1.6m cuts. It did not give residents the opportunity to state they did not want any libraries to close. However, in response to the question of how would they make the first £1m savings, 57 per cent of respondents said they would prefer to see a 40 per cent reduction in opening hours.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:47
Pubs and clubs in London could face having to contribute to the costs of policing and cleaning the streets

Venues which stay open past midnight in Camden may find themselves charged a levy to cover the costs of policing and cleaning the night-time economy.

Yesterday, 15:34
Christopher Matt

Detectives are hunting a convicted sex attacker who has disappeared while on licence from jail.

Yesterday, 13:57
Tom Franklin, Camden Green Party

The chairman of Camden’s Green Party branch has denied sitting down in front of a tank on its way to an arms fair.

Yesterday, 16:30
Theo Seddon-Deane, who has cerebral palsy, with mother Catharine Seddon

Theo Seddon-Deane was born at just 26 weeks, weighing less than a bag of potatoes, and needed a ventilator just to keep him breathing.

Yesterday, 12:57
Pauline Cafferkey as she was discharged from the Royal Free in January

A Scottish nurse being treated at the Royal Free Hospital for a late complication of the Ebola virus is in a “serious condition”, the team treating her has said.

Yesterday, 12:57
New Wetherspoon pub opening in Muswell Hill

A controversial Wetherspoon pub is opening next week on Muswell Hill Broadway.

Yesterday, 12:26
Breda Athan helped treat three Ebola patients at the Royal Free

A senior nurse who led on the treatment of three Ebola patients at the Royal Free Hospital has been honoured at the Nursing Times Leaders awards 2015.

Yesterday, 10:47
Dr Tomas Lindahl has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Picture: The Francis Crick Institute

A Highgate scientist has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering research on DNA repair in cells.

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


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

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

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder