20 April 2012

Call yourself a library ?

Below is part a Press Release sent out this afternoon (19 April) by the council’s Press Team - Mr Mustard's extra remarks are in red. The bit about Hampstead Garden Suburb has been cut, you can read it on Robert Rams's blog if you really must which will be a whole lot quicker than trying to find it on the new Barnet Council wobbly website.

Live link to BBC article : The model for the Arts Depot library?

Barnet Council’s new interim library service is set to launch in North Finchley next week.

Based in the artsdepot building at Tally Ho Corner, the library is being opened in response to public demand (Did you demand this? Did anyone demand this or was it only dreamt up by Robert Rams? Mr Mustard has seen huge demand for a library in Friern Barnet but the council see no need for a library to be opened there; how odd.) for a service while plans are developed for a permanent Landmark (to be defined) Library.

The interim service is set to open on Tuesday 24 April and will be open Tuesdays and Fridays, 2pm – 5pm and Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am – 1pm. Tough luck on the workers. The council hopes to extend the activities beyond these core hours over the summer with new services supported by volunteers, particularly focussing on activities for children. You have left the word "by" off of your blog Robert. Volunteers will be needed as a sole librarian will be at the artsdepot. How many libraries do you know of in Greater London with a sole librarian? They won't even be able to go to the toilet without leaving the room unsupervised; oh well, there is always the Friern Barnet bucket.

A book loan service, containing approximately 10,000 items will be available as well as magazines and newspapers and also a study space. This will be shortly followed by a programme of activities for children and young people. 10,000 books sounds a lot. Let us say they are 2cm thick on average. That makes 20,000cm of books if put in a line = 200m of shelves. Put the shelves 5 books high and you have just 40 linear metres of shelving. Not much of a library. 

The new Landmark Library will merge Friern Barnet and North Finchley libraries, specialising in arts and culture as well as activities for children. There has been talk about the definition of a Landmark Library (you asked this question I think Councillor Rawlins) and the answer was to be found in the library strategy.
Landmark libraries: 
1000 – 2000sqm sites, 
open 56.5 hours per week including Sundays.
These libraries will be located in the busiest centres and will be on good transport routes where people regularly go. 
Additional services will be available from One Barnet partners from benefits advice, CAB sessions, to additional ICT and learning lessons. 
They will have:
A wide ranging, quality and comprehensive book stock
High quality children’s and young people’s activities, programmes, and spaces
A wide range of events and activities – reading groups, author events, learning sessions
High quality community meeting rooms and spaces
Spaces to study and relax

Unless the eventual Arts Depot library meets all of the above criteria a complaint will be made to the Trading Standards authority.

Quotations are now currently being sought from architects to complete a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the artsdepot to create a landmark library. This is estimated to be completed by the end of June this year. Can't an Assistant Director of Customer Services and Libraries, trousering north of £100,000 a year, work out where a few shelves have to go without chucking thousands at a consultant architect? It isn't clear if the feasibility study will be completed by June or the landmark library itself, probably the former.
Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Call me wind because I am blown away by your post!


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