The Council has disgraced itself again this time over the future of the Libraries. Most libraries will be closed on Saturdays, thereby discriminating against people who work, especially working parents who want to take their children to a library. They will either have to drive to one of those that will be open or go by public transport. The week day closure at 6pm, with no late evening openings means that workers will not be able to use their local library. With the decreased use that will result, the legacy will be that the Mayor may be forced to consider complete closures again. This is an issue which should be made a major one at Mayoral Hustings, with a demand that the elected Mayor re-examines the decisions as a matter of priority.
Outgoing Cabinet member Oliver Lewis has approved the new opening hours for the Libraries with effect from April, without
- publishing the results of the public consultation
- without seeking the views of Scrutiny & Overview Committee
- without submitting a report to the Cabinet for approval
Lewis claims on the Council’s Your Croydon newspage that:
- ‘the new timetable takes into account the way residents currently use libraries and ensures that at least one library in the north, south and central parts of the borough is open and staff available each day (Monday to Saturday).
- Most libraries will be open two fewer days per week, except Central Library which will be open five days per week. This is in line with the public consultation, where the majority of respondents supported a council-run service with a 21% reduction in opening hours across libraries, rather than outsourcing or a mixture of a council-run/community-run approach.’
Further Consultation Later In The Year
‘Once the new timetable has been in place a few months, library staff will be speaking to the local community to get feedback on how the new opening hours are working, and if needed, times can be reviewed to ensure they are meeting local needs as much as possible.’
‘Feedback from residents during the consultations showed strong interest from the community in being involved with their local libraries, not only in terms of volunteering but also for venue hire, building upkeep and opportunities for activities for groups and local families. This feedback has led to a number of successful partnerships across most libraries, making better use of the buildings.’
That has not been the case with Norbury Library, where the proposed refurbishment celebration event has had to be cancelled and refurbished community hall has not been available for letting until recently.
Finally Lewis states:
‘The new timetable has been developed to provide the best service within the hours available making sure residents never have to travel far to enjoy their local library.’
The new timetable can be read here: