Now is the time to make our libraries more accessible, not less

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The 10-day closure over the Christmas holiday of the borough’s public libraries may see the council failing in its legal duties, suggests IAN KIERANS

Time out: our libraries need to be open at times when people need them to be open

With the decision to close the borough’s 13 public libraries for a 10-day period over Christmas and the New Year, perhaps one of our borough’s 70 councillors might ask a question of the Mayor: How are all those requiring digital access but do not have it available at home going to be able to apply for anything in the festive season – including mandatory and statutory services?

Or they might ask: How will the council provide digital access to NHS services for those without the digital means for those 10 days?

The Mayor and the council have repeatedly referred people to use services at their libraries – and there must have been some equality impact assessments conducted to ensure that any service cuts, such as the reduction in library opening hours, did not discriminate.

Library visitor numbers are low are they? Has this council addressed the reasons that people are not visiting their libraries? We need libraries with opening times that are relevant to those who work and who have kids, especially with opening times in the core hours after school – making library facilities available after 5pm, though to 7pm or even 9pm, would not only better suit those who are in work, but also children with homework to do.

These library opening times are exactly what private boarding schools provide to all pupils in England, and most towns across Europe also make libraries available at these times for all children and adults, including co-siting adult education facilities.

Accusations of being headless, witless and thoughtless are levelled at this festering and disreputable pustulant corpse of a public body.

Politicians created a perfect shitstorm with their profligacy, and everyone else can suffer for it.

Perhaps the Mayor, and the Improvement Board, would be so good as to explain how and why to all 385,000 Croydon residents, especially those that are cold, hungry and living in bad conditions that have been created by this council, and all those that this council has a statutory duty for. Which, in the case of public libraries, is every single one of them.

There clearly needs to be a review of libraries in this borough, especially to make them more modern and to meet our needs for the 21st Century and how to effectively grow and modernise them – not to close them and go back to the 19th Century.

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1 Response to Now is the time to make our libraries more accessible, not less

  1. Sarah Bird says:

    A very insightful article

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