What do you want? Libraries all over the bloody place?

The Guardian’s Michele Hanson can’t quite believe what is about to happen in Brent….

with my deadline approaching and still no answer from the council, I just had to hope that Glonk was getting a bit hysterical, and this Labour borough wasn’t really planning to close six small local libraries, which it couldn’t afford, and open a grand £3m library in a palatial new £100m civic centre instead.

We’re getting virtual libraries to replace real ones. Or some of us are. Welcome to two-tier Brent.

Wall Street Journal

Even New York’s influential business paper, the Wall Street Journal had something to say on the absurd decision to close half the libraries in Brent…

Assuming Brent Council is just interested in saving money, it does have alternatives to closing libraries. The same city council that can’t spare Ms. Smith’s libraries plans to spend a total of £100 million on a new nine-story civic center—which will include a new super-library.

Read the full article here: Zadie Smith’s Libraries.

The Evening Standard on the £3million mega-library

Miranda Bryant of the London Evening Standard notes the incongruence of axing 6 libraries to save £1m whilst building another one that costs £3m!

Council bosses were today accused of hypocrisy over plans to axe half of Brent’s libraries in the face of massive public opposition…Under the plans, the six libraries could be shut by September. The council is developing a £3 million “mega library” near Wembley Stadium.

Read the full article here.

Why the community needs this library



 Brent Council has said that their reason for closing half the borough’s libraries is not only to make savings but also because senior officers have recommended that moving resources away from community libraries is a “better offer” to Brent Residents.

A range of options for making financial savings, eg cutting hours, reducing central administration costs, has already been offered by our campaign. This paper addresses the second objective – removing the ‘local’ from the public library service. The “better offer” to Brent Residents is a concentration of services in 2 library hubs, offering wider services and open longer hours, rather than local, community-based public libraries.

People living around Preston Road want to keep their local public library.. and here’s why…

Continue reading

BBC Radio 5Live and Preston Library

Yet another BBC channel has taken note of Preston Library, and the absurdity of its closure.

A well-used local library will close to meet the unknown demand of unknown users in the areas surrounding the 6 that will remain open.

This is not a response to a tight budget but rather expensive social engineering with no obvious pay-off to anyone. Oh, except HQ librarians and Cllrs who want to be in charge of state-of-the-art under-used buildings

Being the BBC, it takes a balanced approach, talking to a variety of people, including our very own Simon Gurevitz, and the lovely library-loving Councillor James Powney. The fact remains that the people of Brent have overwhelmingly rejected closure – in the consultation, in petitions and at every public meeting on the subject. It may not have been a referendum, but when people were asked for their views (and many were not), the results were clear.