The Council makes us an offer…

On May 7 2014, at our Public Meeting, Councillor Roxanne Mashari made us this promise:

So Preston Community Library; I believe there is an opportunity over the next twelve months, and by January 2015 we will know whether the previous library building will be needed for school places as we know there is a massive school place shortage across the borough, but this is unlikely as there has already been a local school expansion in the area.

Therefore this Labour administration the Labour party in Brent will offer the building at a peppercorn rent to any local community group who can provide a sustainable community Library and that is our pledge.

We will not open to competitive tender in order to give preference to local groups if they can demonstrate health and safety sustainability etc. and we will offer help and assistance through Brent CVS the voluntary sector and continued support and networking through the Brent libraries forum which has proved successful for the likes of the Friends of Kensal Rise.

Mark Twain House: Brent needs ‘mental food’

An open letter to the powers that be from the trustees of Mark Twain House, Connecticut (US):

Dear Secretary Hunt, Minister Vaizey and Brent Council Members,
Good morning!

I would like to grab a moment of your time and some brief attention as you hurriedly prepare for the arrival of the Olympians this Summer.  Stateside, we are all very excited to see how you celebrate this monumental event!

There is great anticipation for the Olympics as it is a wonderful opportunity for the world to come together in the spirit of competition and excellence.It is, of course, also an opportunity for you to showcase the assets of your great city.
One of the assets of any city, any culture or any society great is its repository of knowledge. Mark Twain, the man we honor here at his home in Hartford, CT, USA, knew this when he said:

“A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.”

The one thing Twain might not have anticipated a library having to survive is our current economy. Another of his wonderful quotes:

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

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Brent begs and bribes people to use libraries

This week, many Brent residents recieved an email that began like this:

Dear Library Member,
We haven’t seen you for a while! Did you know that when you borrow books you can earn rewards through our loyalty card scheme?
Here’s a few reasons why it might be worth visiting us again soon.

…. etc

With a massive drop in library users, Brent Council are begging for people to return. Supermarket-style loyalty cards and free DVD giveaways are being used to try to tempt people back. Indeed, the Library Transformation Project is looking very much like the Library Destruction Project.

Here’s a couple of responses Brent have been receiving:

Hi

I cannot believe you had the gall to send me this.

The main reason you haven’t seen me for a while is because YOU CLOSED MY LOCAL LIBRARY.

Did you forget that you have taken away easy access to libraries from thousands of Brent residents?

My family will start using the Brent Library service as soon as you reopen Preston Road Library which is walking distance away for us
Please can you confirm when this will be as my daugthers are keen to use their local library on Preston Road as soon as possible

Want to have your say? Email libraries@brent.gov.uk now.

Shocking cost of Kilburn Library refurbishment

The financial mismanagement of Brent Council continues unabated.  The cost of refurbishing Kilburn library has gone up from £117,000 to £650,000 – an extra £half million has been found to upgrade one of the least-used libraries in Brent.

Councillor Mohammed Butt

New leader, old ideas? Photo: Brent & Kilburn Times

The original figure formed part of the Library Transformation Plan that new leader Mo Butt is determined to see through. That figure was therefore approved by the executive when they voted for closure last year.

In just 18 months, the figure has increased five-fold.  No justification for the increase has been put forward by Brent Council.

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Kensal Rise Library stripped of books overnight – Telegraph

Ina stunning act of bad faith, Mohammed Butt’s council snuck into Kensal Rise library in the dead of night and stripped it bare.  It was the last of the six to get the “Brent Treatment”, and the building will now be handed back to All Souls College, Oxford, probably to be sold.

Having met KR campaigners last week, we understand Cllr. Butt went down there again today to answer angry questions.

Having begun his reign with the news that Kilburn Library’s refurbishment has gone from £117,000 to over £650,000, it seems increasingly apparent that the change at the top has been cosmetic. With Ann John gone, perhaps Brent Labour hopes you will vote for them, even if nothing has really changed.

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167,004 lost library visits: the true cost of closures

BRENT COUNCIL CONCEALS DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF LIBRARY CLOSURES

Brent SOS Libraries today reveals the true extent of the damage caused by the library closures in the London borough of Brent.

On Monday night, a “progress” report presented misleading and incorrect information on the so-called “Libraries Transformation Project” to the new Labour executive. Brent SOS Libraries responded with its May 2012 Brent SOS Libraries Report, which shows:

  • There have been 167,004 fewer library visits since half of the borough’s libraries were closed in October compared with the same period year on year.
  • 158,809 fewer books have been issued.
  • Library visits and lending have fallen 20% will continue to fall with the imminent closure of Kilburn and demolition of Willesden Green libraries.
  • This has been a net loss of 191 opening hours per week.

Most of the users of the closed libraries ARE NOT USING the remaining libraries, as the council claims. The report that went before the council on Monday failed to mention these key indicators and misrepresented a failing, wasteful service as a success.

Brent SOS LIbrary campaigners hold placards outside Brent Town Hall

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Kensal library survives a ransacking ahead of Butt’s inauguration

Very interesting article in tonight’s Kilburn Times.

Tonight the new leader Cllr. Muhammed Butt will be sworn in. On the same day, workers arrived to clear Kensal Rise library of books.

Thankfully a protest prevented it from happening. Coincidence?

Well, the embattled library -snatcher Cllr Powney (who almost lost his post last week) claims the new leader “has been part of the executive that has backed the library closures all the way”.

Butt himself claims he knew nothing about it.

Barham Library campaigner, Cllr. Paul Lorber believes this was actually a move to finally close down Kensal (the only one to have held onto its books) by the outgoing head, Cllr. Ann ‘Prince’ John.

We have requested a meeting with Cllr. Butt to discuss our library. But he has already said the way libraries were closed down “was not an issue” in the leadership change. Hmm.