Local residents are stepping-up to manage their local libraries.
Ealing Council today (Friday, 20 December) has announced that Hanwell, Perivale, Northfields and West Ealing libraries have all been awarded community library status. This means that the following community groups will start to manage their local library on a volunteering basis, also offering community activities and events:
- Hanwell Library – Ealing Law Centre
- Northfields Library – Northfields Community Library
- Perivale Library – Perivale Community Hive
- West Ealing Library – Ealing CVS.
Positive discussions are ongoing with another community group in relation to Pitshanger Library, and it is hoped these discussions should be concluded in the next few weeks.
The decision to seek community partners for five of the boroughs 13 libraries, was made by Ealing Council in July 2019 following a 12-week public consultation earlier this year.
Local people and library users were invited to consider proposals to keep six of the council’s 13 libraries under council management, with the remaining seven becoming community managed or facing closure. They were also asked about changes to opening hours.
As many as 1,700 people responded via online and paper surveys. In addition, 366 people attended seven consultation events and three drop-in sessions held over the 12-week period.
The council also carried out a representative survey of 800 Ealing residents.
Meanwhile, Greenford and Wood End libraries will also move to being supported by the local communities, meaning that there will still be council staff at these libraries, but with local volunteers helping with some running of services.
Councilor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for business and community services, said: “Thank you to all of the community groups who have applied to step-up and manage their local library.
“This is a major step forward in making sure that Ealing libraries stay open. We know how important libraries are to our local communities. But with a 64% cut in our funding from central government, meaning we get 36p from every £1 we used to receive in 2010, we had to consider alternatives.
“It’s essential that local communities support their fellow residents and groups because community involvement and volunteering is crucial to their plans and I know that the people leading these bids have some creative ideas for how to use the space in a way that benefits everyone.”
Jenny Oldroyd, chair of trustees at Northfields Community Library, said: “Northfields residents really value their library so we are thrilled to be able to keep it open for everyone, young and old.
“More than 100 volunteers have signed up and more than 200 people have shared their ideas – for book clubs, children’s groups, evening opening hours and plenty more. We are hugely excited about making those ideas a reality.”
Changes to library opening times
Libraries earmarked for community managed status will close tomorrow (Saturday, 21 December) and are set to re-open in spring 2020, following refurbishment to the libraries, training and an official handover to the community groups.
Opening hours for the remaining eight libraries are changing to the following times after the Christmas break and will re-open on 2 January.
For more information on libraries go to the Ealing Council website.
Residents who are interested in finding out more about what is planned or who would like to be involved should contact firstname.lastname@example.org by email.