Proposal for the future of library provision in East Barnet and New Barnet

Closed 19 Dec 2016

Opened 24 Oct 2016

Results expected 10 Jan 2017

Feedback Updated 13 Mar 2017

We Asked

We asked residents for their views on the proposal to relocate the library in East Barnet to the proposed future leisure centre at the Victoria Recreation Ground in New Barnet. In particular, residents were asked:
 
  • whether they tended to agree or disagree with the proposal
  • how likely they would be to use the library should it be located within the proposed new leisure centre
  • for reasons why the would/would not be likely to use the library in the proposed new location.
In order to enable further understanding of individual responses, open ended questions were included inviting respondents to give their reasons in addition to questions establishing the respondents use of the current library in East Barnet. Key demographic questions were included at the end to help understand the views of different demographic groups. 
 

You Said

Analysis of the questionnaire responses demonstrated that just under half of residents supported the opportunity whilst others, generally those who currently walked to the current library building, were less supportive of the proposal. Twenty three individuals agreed with the proposal to re-locate and re-provide the library and 26 preferred for the library to remain in its current location and building.  Three did not know. Respondents who welcomed the proposal generally cited improved location for themselves or their families to make use of the library services, and the benefits to them and other residents of co-locating multiple services on one site. Respondents who preferred for the library to remain in its current location and building most commonly cited proximity of the current library building to their home as the reason.

The reaction of residents at the face-to-face drop-in sessions also varied although having had an opportunity to see the plans and talk to officers about the potential opportunities for co-locating services, many appreciated the advantages associated with the relocation and some were excited by the opportunity to undertake numerous activities at one venue in the future. More than half of comments made at the drop-in sessions were in favour of the proposal. 

We Did

Following the 8 week consultation period a report was taken to the Policy and Resources Committee recommending the proposal to re-provide the Partnership library in East Barnet as part of the proposed new leisure facilities in the Victoria Recreation Ground, due to be completed in 2019. This recommendation took into consideration the outcome of the consultation and was made in view of the opportunity to provide modern, fit for purpose library facilities co-located with other leisure and café services (with increased footfall) together with the declining use of the current library in East Barnet and the age and condition of the current building. The Policy and Resources Committee approved the recommendation and subsequently the proposed leisure facility at the Victoria Recreation Ground was granted planning consent. 

Overview

Barnet Council recognises that libraries are a universal and unique service that offers learning opportunities to all from the early years through to retirement. Our ongoing ambition is for libraries to continue to:

  • help all children in Barnet to have the best start in life; developing essential language, literacy and learning skills, and developing a love of reading from an early age
  • provide residents with the skills to live independently; to improve their health and wellbeing, and to get a job and progress whilst in work
  • bring people together, acting as a focal point for communities and assisting resident groups to support their local area.  

Despite economic growth, Barnet Council faces a significant budget gap of £61.5 million between now and 2020. This means that many of the council’s services have to make savings and do things differently to ensure we can continue providing the services we know that residents value and rely on. 

After a comprehensive review and extensive consultation with residents and library users we have committed to retaining all 14 of the current libraries, as well as the Home & Mobile and digital library service as part of the new strategy for the Library Service. More information about these wider changes can be found on the website www.barnet.gov.uk/libraries

During the consultation residents told us that co-locating library services with other services is a good way to tackle some of the financial challenges faced by the library service.  An opportunity has now arisen to provide new, modern, fit for purpose library facilities for local residents through re-providing and re-locating East Barnet Library. This is a result  of the council’s decision to invest in new leisure facilities at the Victoria Recreation Ground in New Barnet which will replace those offered at Church Farm. This decision also followed extensive consultation with local residents.  

As part of the library strategy, East Barnet library will be a community-led Partnership Library from April next year, in a reduced space within the current building. For more information on the wider libraries strategy please click here.

We want to hear your views on the council’s proposal to relocate the community-led Partnership Library to the new premises at the Victoria Recreation Ground in early 2019 when the new leisure facilities are scheduled to be delivered. To find out more about our proposals and the proposed future location, please take the time to read our consultation document.

Why We Are Consulting

We have engaged with residents throughout the process of developing a proposal for the future of Barnet’s library service within a reduced budget. 

We want to give everyone – regardless of whether they currently use Barnet libraries or not – the opportunity to have their say on the current proposal before a decision is made and we will take your views on board.

Your views and opinions are important to us and will help us to make the right decisions. 

What Happens Next

This consultation is now closed.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. We received 52 responses to the questionnaires, and are also are grateful to those who attended the drop-in sessions. Without your valuable input the consultation would not have been possible.

Please read the full consultation report for further information. 

Events

Areas

  • Brunswick Park
  • East Barnet
  • High Barnet
  • Oakleigh

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Libraries