Bexley councillor Peter Catterall asks for help to save libraries

News Shopper: Councillor Peter Catterall wants community groups to run some libraries Councillor Peter Catterall wants community groups to run some libraries

FEARS Bexley Council hopes to close a number of the borough’s libraries are unfounded, says the cabinet member in charge.

Councillor Peter Catterall, responsible for leisure arts and tourism has told his cabinet colleagues the fears are based on “a fair amount of misinformation”.

Speaking at a council cabinet meeting he said: “It is not our objective to go out of our way to close libraries, but to see if we can find other ways of achieving savings without ending the service.”

Cllr Catterall said there were ways of funding community organisations willing to work with the council to provide some libraries.

He claimed this would bring benefits to the community groups involved and public appreciation, as well as giving the public a service.

Cllr Catterall said: “This has been successful elsewhere in the country and other boroughs are doing the same.

He urged people to get involved in the library consultation which closes on February 18.

The borough’s libraries cost around £6m a year and Bexley is hoping to shave nearly £1m off the bill.

Cllr Catterall said: “We are open to any suggestions about how to provide the services people need at less cost the council taxpayers.”

He added: “We want to develop libraries into places that meet the particular needs of their local communities.

“In some places they may look much like our current libraries.

“In others, they may become somewhere where people can borrow books, but also where parents can visit a toddler group, teenagers a homework club and older people a social club.”

Five libraries, in Bexley Village, Bostall, Northumberland Heath, Slade Green and Upper Belvedere have been identified as suitable for community management.

You can take part in the consultation through your local library or log onto bexley.gov.uk

Comments (3)

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3:09pm Thu 10 Feb 11

bexleyman says...

Quicker they shut these five wastes of money the better!
I'd be particularly interested to know how many of these so-called 'groups' actually take place in these five libraries specifically? It's a nice blanket term to suggest 'there's more than just books to a library' to oppose closure. We're in outer London for christ's sake. If we can guarantee all parts of our borough are within one bus ride of a library then what's the problem? I'm not seeing one...
Quicker they shut these five wastes of money the better! I'd be particularly interested to know how many of these so-called 'groups' actually take place in these five libraries specifically? It's a nice blanket term to suggest 'there's more than just books to a library' to oppose closure. We're in outer London for christ's sake. If we can guarantee all parts of our borough are within one bus ride of a library then what's the problem? I'm not seeing one... bexleyman

5:05pm Thu 17 Feb 11

TCarter says...

Bexleyman, how can you call libraries a waste of money? No one expects parks, roads or hospitals to make money, and libraries are no different. They are a public service, and a much needed one.

I don't know about the other libraries, but Bexley village library definitely holds a weekly toddler group, a children's book group, two adult reading groups, regular IT sessions, school holiday activities and much more (and that's despite only being open part-time). It really is at the heart of our community. People are always talking about the "good old days" when everyone knew their neighbours and there was a sense of community, and it's the small, local libraries that provide this.
Bexleyman, how can you call libraries a waste of money? No one expects parks, roads or hospitals to make money, and libraries are no different. They are a public service, and a much needed one. I don't know about the other libraries, but Bexley village library definitely holds a weekly toddler group, a children's book group, two adult reading groups, regular IT sessions, school holiday activities and much more (and that's despite only being open part-time). It really is at the heart of our community. People are always talking about the "good old days" when everyone knew their neighbours and there was a sense of community, and it's the small, local libraries that provide this. TCarter

6:11pm Thu 17 Feb 11

bexleyman says...

TCarter wrote:
Bexleyman, how can you call libraries a waste of money? No one expects parks, roads or hospitals to make money, and libraries are no different. They are a public service, and a much needed one. I don't know about the other libraries, but Bexley village library definitely holds a weekly toddler group, a children's book group, two adult reading groups, regular IT sessions, school holiday activities and much more (and that's despite only being open part-time). It really is at the heart of our community. People are always talking about the "good old days" when everyone knew their neighbours and there was a sense of community, and it's the small, local libraries that provide this.
I didn't suggest they were a waste of money in the slightest. I merely suggested that as long as every part of the borough could reach a library by one bus then any more than this would be an unnecessary duplification.

Yes, people do always talk about the "good old days" - it's a fantastic phenomenon that is guaranteed to make sure that there are no good new days. All people do is talk down the present (i'm not commenting on whether this is justified or not) while always suggesting the grass was greener in the past. As a historian, I can safely say this isn't necessarily the case, and your rose-tinted nostalgia is just the thing that has brought the country down.
[quote][p][bold]TCarter[/bold] wrote: Bexleyman, how can you call libraries a waste of money? No one expects parks, roads or hospitals to make money, and libraries are no different. They are a public service, and a much needed one. I don't know about the other libraries, but Bexley village library definitely holds a weekly toddler group, a children's book group, two adult reading groups, regular IT sessions, school holiday activities and much more (and that's despite only being open part-time). It really is at the heart of our community. People are always talking about the "good old days" when everyone knew their neighbours and there was a sense of community, and it's the small, local libraries that provide this.[/p][/quote]I didn't suggest they were a waste of money in the slightest. I merely suggested that as long as every part of the borough could reach a library by one bus then any more than this would be an unnecessary duplification. Yes, people do always talk about the "good old days" - it's a fantastic phenomenon that is guaranteed to make sure that there are no good new days. All people do is talk down the present (i'm not commenting on whether this is justified or not) while always suggesting the grass was greener in the past. As a historian, I can safely say this isn't necessarily the case, and your rose-tinted nostalgia is just the thing that has brought the country down. bexleyman

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