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Enfield looks for novel ways to further improve libraries

Published Wednesday, 04 July 2012

Despite the overwhelming majority of people saying they a very happy with their library service Enfield Council says it is determined to improve further.

Enfield Council's Cabinet agreed a new three to five year library strategy on Wednesday 20 June, following a comprehensive consultation in summer 2011.

The strategy highlights four priorities for improvement: books and reading, lifelong learning and literacy, digital services and access to information, and buildings and community space.

Last summer's consultation revealed that 88% of residents are satisfied with library provision.

Cllr Bambos Charalambous, Enfield Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Youth and Localism, said: "We are very proud of the successes of our libraries and are pleased that residents rate them so highly.

"We're not going to rest on our laurels, but will continue to find ways of improving. The reason our libraries are so well thought of is because of the hard work, dedication and commitment of our staff who have listened to what users have told us and then worked tirelessly to make the service one of the biggest and best in London.

"Libraries are increasingly becoming community hubs, where residents can access all manner of resources, information and services. We expect our library service to evolve over the next five years and become an absolutely vital part of community life in this borough."

Successes since the previous strategy was published include the refurbishment or opening of several libraries including Enfield Town, John Jackson Library at Bush Hill Park and the newest library at Millfield House. Enfield now has 17 libraries in total, more than any other London borough other than Hillingdon (which also has 17).

Books and reading remain at the heart of the new strategy, and libraries will continue to promote reading as well as improving literacy and the ability to access and use information.

Other innovations include offering greater wi-fi availability in libraries, and offering 'street corner universities' where people can undergo informal learning in a friendly and welcoming environment.

A New Community Engagement Team has been set up to work with the community to encourage them to use their library more, use council services and reach out to lapsed- and non-users.

Enfield Council will also look at ways of establishing Friends of Library groups to encourage more people than ever before to get involved at their local library.

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