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Council email shows Brent Labour still don’t get impact of their library closures

June 22, 2012 4:27 PM

Labour-run Brent Council have been forced to resort to bribery and begging to get local residents to use the borough's library service. The move comes after figures released by the Council show the impact of Brent Labour's decision to close half of the borough's libraries with less than half of the people who regularly used the closed libraries moving to the ones still open. In addition, the overall number of library visits has fallen by over 30,000 visits a month.

The council's response to the figures was to send an email to registered members who hadn't visited a library recently with the offer of a free DVD loan - which usually costs £1 - as well as information about the loyalty card scheme. Many local residents who received the email previously visited one of the six libraries closed by Brent Council and a number took to the internet to voice their displeasure, making it clear that the reason they haven't visited a library recently is due to Labour's closures.

Despite this example of the failure of Labour's Libraries project, Brent Council has so far seemed unwilling to work with community groups - such as Friends of Kensal Rise Library - to reopen some of the closed libraries.

Library provision in Brent has been reduced even further as Kilburn library is currently closed for refurbishment. Coupled with the plans to redevelop Willesden Green library - the most popular of the borough's libraries - this will mean that residents of Brent will only have five libraries across the entire borough for the next 2 years.

Commenting, Brent Central MP Sarah Teather said:

"This email shows that Brent Labour still don't get the impact their programme of library closures is having. Local residents want a library service that meets their needs and the needs of the community - not to be offered tokenistic bribes.

"The Labour run Council has had the opportunity to work with groups like Friends of Kensal Rise Library, but all they were prepared to give were warm words and no positive action. Rather than take steps to retain a decent library service in Brent, Labour chiefs resorted to ordering dawn raids to strip libraries of their contents.

"Labour leaders are continuing to plough ahead with their library transformation project despite the negative impact their actions are having on library users in Brent. With the temporary closures of Kilburn and Willesden Green libraries, Brent Council needs to take drastic action or this situation is only going to get worse."

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