6 libraries could close under new Tory plan

Barnet's Tory council has published options to cut £2.85 million from the library service, including closing Burnt Oak, Childs Hill, Mill Hill, East Finchley, Osidge and South Friern libraries and cutting staff so that libraries are unstaffed 50% of the time.

Last month Labour councillors revealed the council's secret plan to cut the library service by 60% or £2.85 million, and started a 'Save our library service' petition.

The options the council will consult on include:

Option 1: 

  • Cutting staff to leave libraries unstaffed with only a telephone advice service for 50% of the time

Option 2:

  • Closing 6 libraries: Burnt Oak, Childs Hill, Mill Hill, East Finchley, Osidge and South Friern
  • Cutting staff to leave libraries unstaffed 40% of the time

Option 3:

  • Closing East Barnet and Childs Hill libraries
  • Cutting staff to leave libraries unstaffed 50% of the time
  • Asking the community to take over running East Finchley, Mill Hill, South Friern and Edgware libraries

The libraries plan will be discussed at the next Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee on 28 October at 7pm in Hendon Town Hall.

Residents can submit public questions or make public comments on any item on the agenda by sending them in to Governance at paul.frost@barnet.gov.uk by 10am Friday 24 October.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said: "These proposals will devastate our local library service and the communities they serve.

"Leaving all libraries unstaffed for 50% of the time will make many more vulnerable members of the community who use libraries feel unsafe in them, and we cannot support any plan that includes library closures."

Labour's Libraries' Spokesperson, Cllr Anne Hutton said: "If community groups are willing and able to take on running libraries we will support that as we believe in encouraging more community involvement in our libraries, but we want to know what the community thinks first.

"It's now really important that residents show their support for their local libraries by signing our petition so we can take that message to the council that our libraries are not for sale."

Notes:

  1. A copy of the Library Strategy proposals can be found here:

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=697&MId=8016&Ver=4

  1. Labour's 'Save our library service petition':

http://betterbarnet.nationbuilder.com/saveourlibraryservice

  1. Labour reveals council’s secret plan to cut 60% of the library service:

http://betterbarnet.nationbuilder.com/library_closures_likely_with_60_budget_cut 

For more information contact: 

Cllr Anne Hutton: cllr.a.hutton@barnet.gov.uk

Cllr Alison Moore: cllr.a.moore@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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