Sunday, 24 July 2011

Friern Barnet Library: "The Cabinet meeting is on Tuesday, 26th July 7pm at Hendon Town Hall, which is a public meeting!"

"Friern Barnet Library is our communal centre, a place to learn, study, read, discover new worlds, fire up imaginations, find information and support, friends, find help with childcare, child minding support, providing many ideas and educational projects for many children, schools, families and local people.

"It can serve as a place of refuge away from the crowds and busy streets of our modern city life in London.

"We are asking Barnet Council to keep it, and our green communal space, our green village, open. This is our Landmark centre, and we want to keep it open. It serves to feed the very hearts and minds of our lively, busy, strong, good natured and diverse community.

"We are a diverse group of young and old, including young families, attracted to the area because of the close proximity of the library, its resources available and we have grown through many generations, to enjoy, learn and discover a sense of community.

"There is an increasing variety of job seekers, including the young, who have a great need to make use of the free internet, computer facilities, study and information provided by the library.

"There are the elderly, a nearby sheltered housing centre and people with disabilities and mobility issues who welcome and enjoy its locality and services. The prospect of travelling to North Finchley for services, could prove very challenging. The Arts Depot is local to North Finchley, but not to Friern Barnet. Public transport for some, can be costly, inconvenient, and slow in our ever-increasing world of heavy traffic gridlock.

"If the proposed relocation is agreed to North Finchley, it could transform a relatively trouble free journey and change it into a more stressful and tiresome expedition to the library for some members of our community. It could potentially have a bigger impact on the most vulnerable members of our local community, particularly people with disabilities and mobility issues.

"The local residents have expressed concern about its impact and trust it would meet current legislation concerning Equality laws, with the subject and application of some form of Equality impact assessment being carried out on behalf of local residents.

"And we hope we can keep it just the way we like it, here in Friern Barnet.

"Email our Cabinet - details here."

The nine points of the 'Save Friern Barnet Library' Campaign:
  1. Friern Barnet Library serves as a much-loved centre for the whole community – the only such centre in the area. Surgeries with local councillors are held in the library, as well as weekly meetings with our local police team. Community groups, such as a knitting group and a reading group, meet in the library. Well-attended talks take place regularly. The library is a source of information about local issues.
  2. Local libraries should be local. Having a library within walking distance makes it easily accessible to the young, the elderly and those with disabilities or mobility issues – these groups will be most affected by the proposed move to the Arts Depot.
  3. Friern Barnet Library provides computer and internet access for the local community. This helps job-seekers as well as those who cannot afford this technology at home.
  4. We dispute it being categorised as ‘low use’. From child-minders’ groups meeting for story-time, elderly people popping in to read the paper or children doing their homework after school, this library provides many vital services for the local community.
  5. There are at least three local state primary schools and three state secondary schools as well as the Sixth form Woodhouse College within walking distance – surely if links are strengthened between schools, colleges and the library, money could actually be saved?
  6. We already have a landmark library. Literally. Friern Barnet Library and its neighbouring village green stand as a focal point for the community of this area. The attractive building gives our neighbourhood its character and makes it feel like the village it once was, rather than another residential corridor in London.
  7. The ‘strategic library review’ consultation document, with its many pages of leading questions, is clearly designed to provide data that will back up the council’s plans. At Holly Park School, 41% of families have English as a second language - how many of them will pick up the ‘strategic library review’, take part and make their views known? We believe that the consultation process is a token PR exercise with the results a foregone conclusion. It was with astonishment to find inside ‘Literacy, learning and leisure’ booklet published by Barnet Council that Friern Barnet Library had been erased from the map.
  8. Selling the library may provide the Council with a short-term financial gain but it would, more importantly, cause an irreparable long-term loss for the whole local community.
  9. Librarians provide a valuable and professional service to the community. We do not want to see librarians’ hours being cut or jobs being lost in favour of a volunteer-run library service. Or self service.

"We, the local residents, would like to say a big thank you to all of you who came to the library, hooted your horn, signed our petition, and read a book inside, last weekend. Local businesses that make up our community in Friern Barnet have also supported our campaign.

"We would also like to say a big thank you to our local
Friern Barnet parish for supporting us in trying to keep our community spirit alive with our library and shared support for our commuity. They have already managed to obtain many local residents' signatures, and we really appreciate your support and help.

"Our local
Royal British Legion social club at The Village, 1 St John Buildings, Friern Barnet Road, London N11 3DP supports our campaign to keep the library open. They are next to our library, and have said they would not want to see the library close to the public. It brings great benefit for many of the local residents, including some of their members. It has helped form a community spirit amongst the two buildings, which has made living in the area all the more special.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for supporting our work, and providing us with practical help, such as lending for free their tables, chairs and use of facilities, as our part of our local community."

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