Barnet wants to close the 5 libraries with greatest kids' growth - please help!

(7 Posts)
ladolcemar Wed 01-Jul-15 20:37:52

Please help keep our libraries!

Even though the most expensive of the 5 libraries Barnet wants to close only costs £148k a year in total to run and serves 10,000 members in a community of 14,000 (70%) and has a growth rate of kids' fiction borrowing of 18.5%, Barnet is threatening to close it amongst 4 other libraries.

Each of the libraries slated for closure has been experiencing growing use by kids and teens, despite the Council running the stocks down. The average growth in fiction borrowing is up 20% for the last 5 years but because they haven't been stocking them, the growth is even more impressive.

If the Council has its way, I will have to take my two year old twins on a 36 minute bus ride - with a change - each way to the next nearest library. In other words, they will never see the inside of a library again. Whilst the CEO of Barnet is happy to take home a salary of £187k a year, the Council aren't happy to support the literacy and future of tens of thousands of children for £148k (in other words 9 months of one man on the Council's pay).

The study areas are full of A level students and Rhyme Time is packed. Where else in the community is there to be left? If we are to complain about disaffected youth being radicalised or school-leavers not having adequate skills, surely it's not very smart to close the libraries - especially when they're so cheap? Barnet spends £1.5m on CCTV for traffic but won't spent a tenth of that on a library?

The 'possible compromise' that they should be shrunk and then left to volunteers to run is also outrageous. How much unpaid work does this Council expect us to do? I work, raise two kids and look after the house. I am already involved in school and church. Why do I pay taxes if I'm expected to work for free? The CEO of Barnet isn't working for free. Good people should be paid well - fine. So pay one professional librarian who helps our kids (and us and our elders) find their way through information and learn about story-telling and citizenship. The CEO could fund the library and still earn twice as much as the librarian does.

The situation is outrageous. If you want to have public libraries in Barnet, write to the Head of the Library Committee cllr.r.thompstone@barnet.gov.uk and tell him you need your local public library. Libraries are a right guaranteed by a law that has been around since 1964 but it doesn't seem like Barnet Council are particularly concerned about this or about the futures of our children and communities.

The vote by the Council is on September 21st and is very close. There is a big march on 12th September starting at Finchley Church End but time is running out. If you want to keep a library in your community, you need to speak up now! We have fewer than 90 days to save our libraries for our kids.

Ellis4 Thu 23-Jul-15 23:30:09

Good idea. Is there a Facebook link and also an official petition?

BarnetEnfieldEditor Fri 24-Jul-15 00:31:31

Hi Ellis4, I found this

www.facebook.com/events/1656807831204993/

Ladolcemar - I hope I've linked to the correct/official page?

ladolcemar Fri 24-Jul-15 01:17:26

Yes the Save Barnet Libraries Facebook page is there plus there's now www.savebarnetlibraries.org

We hope to see you at the march!

Ellis4 Sat 25-Jul-15 23:05:18

Great thanks

Ellis4 Sat 25-Jul-15 23:09:03

What time is the march and do you know how long for?

ladolcemar Sat 25-Jul-15 23:32:55

Hi Ellis4 and thanks for your interest! The march starts at East Finchley Library at 10.15 on Sat 12th Sept and then proceeds to Finchley Church End Library (where the big red bus, marching band and possibly even a fire engine will be!) and continues to North Finchley but you can join it along the way. We know some supporters will be coming from synagogue services to join the rally at North Finchley Library at about 12.30pm. I hope the below is helpful - thanks!

www.savebarnetlibraries.org/children-s-march-for-libraries-details.html

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