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Enfield Council launches libraries consultation

Published Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Enfield Council has launched a consultation on proposals to deliver an ambitious vision for the future role of libraries which meets residents changing demands and keeps libraries at the heart of local communities.

In recent years Enfield Council’s libraries have adapted to the changing needs of the community to offer a greater range of services for all users as well as providing space and facilities for local groups, events and activities.

Proposals have now been developed to ensure that libraries continue to play a pivotal role in the local community and support increased demand for digital services.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Children's Services and Protection and Libraries said, “Our vision is to create a comprehensive library service that provides the facilities and support needed to strengthen our changing communities.

"The options include investment in a number of flagship libraries across the borough, creating fit-for-purpose buildings in the right locations that provide a full range of services and activities.  Opening hours in these libraries would be extended, seven days a week, to make them even more accessible.”

As well as a comprehensive range of standard library resources and activities, these flagship libraries would include digital hubs that will offer a far greater number of self-service kiosks and PCs and greater capacity wifi. Edmonton Green library would nearly double in size.

Other services would include homework clubs, jobs clubs and zones for online and learning activities. Staff would be trained to provide support and advice on making the most of the latest digital tools.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan said, “With over 1.4 million online visits to our digital library we need to meet increasing demand for space for free wifi and access to PCs as well as providing the standard library resources and services our residents expect.

“We also want these libraries to support residents and local business’ learning, skills and economic development.  We are looking to join up with voluntary and partner organisations to support the provision of employment advice, training around personal budgeting and business advice.”

These flagship libraries would be supported by a number of community libraries across the borough where Enfield Council would share the facilities with other services and volunteer groups. 

The local community and local volunteers would play a greater role in maintaining these libraries with support from the Council.

Cllr Orhan said, “I’d urge residents to get involved in the consultation which will running from Monday 10 November. 

"We have developed a number of proposals on how we think a high quality library service should be provided. 

"Despite Enfield Council having to find £80 million savings by 2018, we also believe that these proposals are sustainable – securing the future of our library service at a time when so many libraries across the country have had to close due to financial pressures.  No decisions have been taken. 

"Your views will inform any decisions we take and help shape the future structure and vision for Enfield’s libraries.”

The consultation closes on Friday 6 February 2015 and is available online here or in paper format through libraries and council reception areas.

A final decision will be made in February/March 2015.

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