Nov 30 2012

Harrow Council Promises to Upgrade Library Computers

New computers, free Wi-Fi and a more extensive choice of stock will be in Harrow’s libraries in 2013.

Back in May 2012, Harrow Council asked residents for their views on the borough’s library service and what improvements they would like to see. The council has been working hard to respond to residents’ ideas and these have formed the basis for the next stage of library improvements. The first round installed self service machines in all libraries, and moved Hatch End Library into Harrow Arts Centre, creating a refreshing new space. This has already saved £1.1m per annum, enabling all of Harrow’s libraries to stay open. Resident satisfaction has also increased, with 60% of users saying they found the library service much better since the changes.

From March 2013, residents will be able to use their library card in other borough libraries, opening access to 6 million items from libraries across London, including those in Brent and Ealing. Wider access means that residents can borrow and return books, DVDs, CDs and magazines wherever they are.

Brand new computers and a software upgrade will see that residents can practice driving theory and citizenship tests for free at their local library. Free Wi-Fi will also be introduced to all Harrow libraries later on in the year. Residents will also be able to register for email and text updates, and reminders for when borrowed items are due back, to help avoid late fees.

The upgrades are expected to save Harrow Council approximately £40k per year.

Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for Community and Cultural services, Councillor David Perry, said: “I know Harrow residents love their libraries and the services they provide, and modernising our services is a great way of saving money. The first phase of the transformation was extremely successful, and now we want to further that success by providing improved access and value for money, and to better reflect our residents’ needs. Harrow Council wants to ensure that our libraries continue as thriving community resources, whilst also bringing them into the 21st century.”

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