Reader offers �2,500 gift in bid to save Hampstead Garden Suburb library

The SOS: Save our Suburb Library petition, signed by almost half of Hampstead Garden Suburb’s residents, has forced Barnet Council to launch a scrutiny committee to discuss the library’s future.

And after reading of the library’s plight in last week’s Ham&High, a reader has offered campaigners a �2,500 gift, representing �1 for every signature on the petition, towards funding it themselves.

The petition, organised by Deborah Warman, who visits the Market Place library every week, was launched at the end of April.

When the number of residents’ signatures on any petition exceeds 2,000, the council is forced to hold a scrutiny committee to consider the situation and possibly re-evaluate its position – giving Suburb residents real hope for their small but much-loved community service.

The anonymous benefactor contacted the Ham & High with his �2,500 offer after reading last week’s story about the threat to the future of the 60-year-old library, and being impressed by the important role it plays in the Suburb’s tightly-knit community.

However, Suburb resident Neville Silver, 79, who says he has worked out a series of flaws in Barnet’s calculations concerning the library’s annual costs, believes this is not the right solution.

Although thankful for the offer he said: “I do not think it is up to the residents to be paying for this. It’s as though they would be paying twice for a service the council should provide.

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‘‘We have offered to save �25,000 a year by finding volunteers to work in the library and I think that that is enough.”

D-day could be on July 26 when the council meets to discuss the results of the consultation.