Defrosted Funds to Help Local Libraries
3 libraries to benefit but temporary closures have been criticised
Money recovered from the failed Icelandic bank, Glitnir will be used to refurbish Hanwell and Perivale Libraries and relocate Southall Library.
The decision to keep all of Ealing’s libraries open, and invest in their upgrade and refurbishment, was taken following a public consultation last summer.
Ealing Council’s cabinet has now agreed to invest £2.2million in refurbishing Hanwell and Perivale libraries. Companies will also be asked to submit proposals later in the year to build a new extension to the Dominion Arts Centre to accommodate the relocation of Southall Library. Local people will be invited to take part in drawing up the designs and proposals.
Just over £2million has been earmarked for the project, with the funding coming from money recovered from failed Icelandic bank, Glitnir. The work will ensure they are accessible, modern and properly equipped for local residents.
Hanwell Library will receive a £900,000 makeover that will update, repair and restore the historic Carnegie building. There will be new self-service booths and a lift to the first floor, as well as general improvement to the décor.
Perivale’s 1930s library will receive a £400,000 upgrade to bring it up to the same standard as other libraries in the borough with new library design and furniture.
Plans to move Southall Library to the Dominion Arts Centre are still at an early stage and there will be consultation with local residents on the proposal, design and what services could be provided at the site.
If it goes ahead, the new site will provide a more central location increasing accessibility for local residents, complimenting the existing community programme at the Dominion Arts Centre and putting the library firmly at the heart of the local community.
All three libraries will also benefit from a computer upgrade and WiFi access.
Local people are also being encouraged to get involved with their local library by signing up as volunteers or joining one of the new library user groups that will be set up this year.
Keith Townsend, Executive Director of Customer Services, said: “This investment shows how much we value our library service in Ealing. We want to bring all our libraries up to a modern standard while still providing a value-for-money service and these improvements will help to achieve this.”
Cllr David Millican, Leader of the Conservative Group said:
''It was only thanks to a massive campaign last year by Conservative Councillors and residents, who presented petitions, signed by over 8,000 residents, that made Labour decide to backtrack on closing our libraries.
Two of those previously earmarked for closures, Hanwell and Perivale will finally now be refurbished, which we welcome.
Unfortunately, under the proposals approved by the Labour Cabinet, they will shut for at least six months with no alternative service being provided during this time. This is unacceptable and we are pressing the Council to consider mitigating options, so that the users will be inconvenienced the very least.”
To find out about your local library, go to www.ealing.gov.uk/libraries.
26th April 2012