|Council's Controversial Plans for Libraries|
Barons Court to close, Sands End to relocate
The closure of Barons Court Library and the relocation of Sands End Library are among controversial new ideas being proposed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Both of these, according to the council do not offer good value for money, and it claims the proposed changes could help to save around £300,000 a year.
This saving would be ploughed back into the library services and used to help cut the council’s £133 million debt mountain.
Instead of supporting these smaller libraries, the council says it intends to spend up to £80,000 improving the busy Fulham library, installing state-of-the-art technology and IT, self-service terminals and new furniture and is seeking partners to share this large building, helping to drive down costs and attract more customers. For example, adult learning classes are already delivered from the library.
Cllr Greg Smith, Cabinet Member for Residents Services, says: " In the current financial climate, the days of small neighbourhood libraries, such as Barons Court and Sands End, which serve relatively small numbers of people are coming to an end. Instead, we want to move to fewer, better state-of-the-art town centre libraries that attract more customers and are more economical to operate especially where costs can be shared with other services to customers.
"The unprecedented success of the new Shepherds Bush Library goes to show just what can be achieved by modernising library services. We are incredibly excited at the prospect of replicating that ' More than a Library' model at other locations across the borough."
These proposals are the latest of a raft of cost-cutting measures which the council says are necessary to help cut its debts of £133 million. Says Cllr Smith: " This transformation of library services is about offering residents the best value-for-money deal possible while balancing our books. The council is prioritising people over buildings and we simply can’t afford to run these small libraries if we are serious about tackling our financial problems."
Here the details of the proposals:
Barons Court Library
Sands End Library
Elsewhere in the borough, there are plans to cancel a mobile library service which stops in Shepherd's Bush, the relocation of Hammersmith Library and the disposal of both its current building and the old Shepherd's Bush Library, which has been empty since the library moved to Westfield. The council says it is currently in discussion with the Bush Theatre about taking over the building.
There will also be a series of library open days, which are open to all residents.
They are on:
Each event runs from 2pm until 7pm.