Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Friern Barnet Peoples Library - A Statement

The Barnet Eye has been instrumental in putting together the concept of Friern Barnet Peoples Library. I have been asked to clarify exactly what the purpose of the Peoples library is. This is simple

* To demonstrate the requirement for a local library for the people of Friern Barnet
* To show that the local community have been ignored and their concerns brushed aside
* To build a community spirit in Friern Barnet centered around the Library
* To retain the Friern Barnet Library building in public ownership until a more enlightened policy is adopted at Barnet Council

Let us also consider what the Friern Barnet Peoples Library isn't

* It is not a long term replacement for a properly run Library
* It is not a dry run for the amatuerisation of Library provision in Barnet
* It is not a model for a volunteer run library service in Barnet, which would be a disaster

Libraries are effective because they have professional staff. The Peoples library was set up to allow the local community to show their love of the site. The proposal to rent the site for three months was to demonstarte the fact that there is a requirement and it is well supported by the commuinity. If the council had taken up the offer, the next phase would have been to develop a proposal for a full scale re-opening in association with Barnet Council, using paid full time staff in association with volunteers.

The Barnet Eye believes that there is a place in the library service for support work by volunteers. These do not replace trained and paid staff but can help them expand the service at a time of financial difficulty.

The sad truth is that if Barnet Council sell the Friern Library site, then it is game over forever. Another local amenity will be lost forever. We will do everything we can to prevent that from happening. If that means an interim period of a volunteer library, then so be it. We ask the whole of Barnets communty to come together and fight for a well resourced Library service providing a fully staffed operation.

The Peoples library is a focus for the strength of feeling and passion for our library service. It is not some half cocked attempt at Big Society. We used reference to Big Society merely to illustrate the fact that the Conservative Barnet Council does not serve even it's own ideological constructs, let alone the needs of the wider community.

We thank everyone for their support in this matter.

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