Councillors to vote on future of libraries

AN “extraordinary” full council meeting will be held next Wednesday to discuss the future of Camden’s libraries.

All councillors have been summoned to the Town Hall for a special meeting to discuss how the borough’s 13 libraries should be funded.

The Labour-run council revealed earlier this year that it would be unable to keep all the services intact after the government slashed its funding by 26 per cent over the next four years.

The council said it needs to reduce the libraries budget from �8m to �6m. Keith Moffitt, this week re-elected as leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the council, called the meeting.

The motion, which councillors will vote on, states: “This council, recognising the value of the library service to the people of Camden and the high esteem in which it is held, resolves that any proposed services changes should not include any closure of the 13 libraries within the borough, and further resolves to explore in depth any reasonable alternative cost-saving measures in partnership with local residents, library uers, library staff and voluntary groups.”

In 1998, two Labour councillors defied the party whip to vote against the closures, saving the libraries and Wednesday’s meeting is expected to be equally impassioned.

The motion comes as it emerged that private companies have approached Camden with a view to running the libraries. LSSI and the construction company John Laing have both expressed an interest in managing them. The meeting will be at 8pm in the council chamber.