Monday, 6 September 2010

Defend all Barnet's libraries!

I'm swotting up on libraries, library cuts, etc., ahead of the Barnet cabinet meeting tonight. I'm asking a public question relating to the paper "Strategic library review" which will be wafted before the noses of the Cabinet. They will all vote enthusiastically to have one, then probably strenuously ignore the results of the consultation which, I predict, will find that... people don't want to close their libraries!

As I discussed in an earlier post, the strategic library review goes hand in hand with the estates review, where Barnet council moots merging some of the libraries and selling off the sites thus liberated. I thought initially that the libraries most likely to close would be the less glamorous sites in places such as Grahame Park, but, after speaking to someone I met on the stall at the weekend, I now think that it could be the more substantial libraries - the ones in nice buildings - that will be put up for sale.

For example, Hendon library, slap bang in the middle of the expanding Middlesex University campus. Middlesex want to close their Enfield site and move all their operations to Hendon. So the library and Hendon Town Hall would do them nicely!

Cabinet meetings are held at Hendon Town Hall (though for how much longer?). It starts tonight at 7pm; come along if you want to see, possibly, Lynne Hillan's last Cabinet performance, and hear me asking a question about libraries. The question I submitted is:
The Cabinet paper proposing a Strategic Library Review is at pains to stress that full consultation will be carried out to find out what Barnet residents need and want from their libraries. Yet, at the same time, it is assumed from the outset that less money will be spent on libraries at the end of the process. What if the result of the consultation concludes that the same amount or more money should be spent on libraries? How can you convince Barnet residents that the results of the SLR are not a done deal, for example, that it is not inevitable that some libraries should close?
Germaine Greer has an article defending libraries as libraries in today's Guardian. It doesn't break new ground but if you like Greer you might like to see it. And she's on the right side!


LesDennis said...

I heard a rumour that my local library in North Finchley might be sold off. I think we should be prepared for a Save Barnet Libraries campaign. They're happening in other places around the country with 'read ins' and coverage on local bbc news. Why not here.

vickim57 said...

Brilliant. Please get in touch if you want to take this further.