Friern Barnet Library
1. Friern Barnet Library serves as a much-loved centre for the whole community – the only such centre in the area. Surgeries with local councillors are held in the library, as well as weekly meetings with our local police team. Community groups, such as a knitting group and a reading group, meet in the library. Well-attended talks take place regularly. The library is a source of information about local issues.
2. Local libraries should be local. Having a library within walking distance makes it easily accessible to the young, the elderly and those with disabilities or mobility issues – these groups will be most affected by the proposed move to the Arts Depot.
3. Friern Barnet Library provides computer and internet access for the local community. This helps job-seekers as well as those who cannot afford this technology at home.
4. We dispute it being categorised as ‘low use’. From child-minders’ groups meeting for story-time, elderly people popping in to read the paper or children doing their homework after school, this library provides many vital services for the local community.
5. There are at least three local state primary schools and three state secondary schools as well as the Sixth form Woodhouse College within walking distance – surely if links are strengthened between schools, colleges and the library, money could actually be saved?
6. We already have a landmark library. Literally. Friern Barnet Library and its neighbouring village green stand as a focal point for the community of this area. The attractive building gives our neighbourhood its character and makes it feel like the village it once was, rather than another residential corridor in London.
7. The ‘strategic library review’ consultation document, with its many pages of leading questions, is clearly designed to provide data that will back up the council’s plans.
We believe that the consultation process is a token PR exercise with the results a foregone conclusion. It was with astonishment to find inside ‘Literacy, learning and leisure’ booklet published by Barnet Council that Friern Barnet Library had been erased from the map.
8. Selling the library may provide the Council with a short-term financial gain but it would, more importantly, cause an irreparable long-term loss for the whole local community.
9. Librarians provide a valuable and professional service to the community. We do not want to see librarians’ hours being cut or jobs being lost in favour of a volunteer-run library service. Or self service.