by Nigel Bakhai on 18 June, 2011
This week I welcomed the announcement at Tuesday’s Council meeting that Ealing Council is no longer planning to close four threatened libraries in the borough.
Obviously, whilst it is disappointing that the mobile library will be phased out, I am pleased that the council no longer plans to close the libraries at Hanwell, Northfields, Perivale and Northolt Leisure Centre. I spoke at the meeting and thanked the Portfolio holder Cllr Ranjit Dheer on behalf of the Lib Dem group for his statement that these libraries would be saved. However, I added that the results of the council’s public consultation into libraries is due later this month and that we will have to wait to see the council’s proposals in detail. In particular, we will have to scrutinize the budget cuts that they plan to make in the library service and the role that volunteers will be expected to play in the running of libraries in the future.Ealing Lib Dems were totally opposed to library closures in the borough, and I hope that we played our part in the council’s u-turn by signing petitions, asking awkward questions in the council chamber and by showing through our alternative budget proposals that the council could easily find the money to keep these libraries open if they had the political will. However, I would particularly like to pay tribute to the fantastic efforts of library campaigners around Ealing to collect thousands of signatures over the last few months which has forced this decision. As one of the three ward councillors for Elthorne where Hanwell Library is situated, I would especially like to thank Carolyn Brown and the Hanwell Community Forum for organising the local campaign to save Hanwell Library and showing just how important a community facility Hanwell Library is to the area and local people.Leave a comment