Nov 25 2014

Labour Threaten Half Harrow’s Libraries With Closure

conservative_logoHarrow Council’s Labour administration is planning to close four of the borough’s libraries – with a fifth set to lose its entire staff. In a consultation document launched today, the Council earmarks Bob Lawrence, North Harrow, Rayners Lane and Hatch End libraries for closure, with Wealdstone switching to a non-staffed ‘Open+’ system. A proposal is also put forward to reduce the opening times for all Harrow’s libraries to just 22 hours per week – but the Council says doing this alone won’t make sufficient savings.

Conservative Community and Culture spokesman Cllr. Manji Kara said: “Our libraries are invaluable to many residents – whether they are studying, doing research, reading for pleasure or looking for work. Libraries are one of the services people rightly expect their councils to provide, so for Labour to propose closing half of them in Harrow is simply scandalous.”

Cllr. Kara continued: “Labour will blame the Government for this because that’s what they always do, but the simple truth is that keeping two of these libraries open costs the same as the Chief Executive they’ve just reemployed. So Labour clearly care more about paying someone to make their lives easier than they do about providing services our residents want, which just shows how screwed up their priorities are.”

Cllr. Kara added: “On a personal note, my two year granddaughter always looks forward to trips to the local library. She loves sharing a book with me, and there will be many like her who will now miss the opportunity to learn with loved ones.”

Over 1.1 million visits were made to Harrow’s libraries last year. The Chief Executive cost is around £225,000 per annum; library annual costs are £115,000 (North Harrow and Rayners Lane) and £100,000 (Hatch End).

(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Concerned Harrovian

    The administration is meant to be bringing in fines for littering and spitting in January 2015. The money generated by fines and the reduction in the street cleaning bill could subsidise a library. I hope the fine for spitting and littering is a promise the Labour administration will fulfil. Does anyone know if this is happening in the New Year?

    As Councillor Kara points out the closing of four libraries will seriously affect students studying for their exams. This would be an own goal because it would impact on the chances of further education or employment for the borough’s youngsters.

    Also these libraries put on things for young children to encourage them to read and enjoy books.
    I think Wealdstone holds a dad’s Saturday club for children under seven. This is a wonderful initiative as it means dads and children can enjoy looking at and reading books together. If the system is automated at Wealdstone library it takes away the human face of the library system.

    If the librarians lose their jobs it means their expertise will be lost to Harrow borough. Perhaps they should pretend to be robots as this would make them more employable by the administration.

  2. sonoo malkani

    I am lost for words and can’t believe what is being written about CLOSING FOUR libraries—-including Rayners Lane and North Harrow which means people from these areas will have to travel a long way to find a library.This closure is unthinkable as our libraries are the hub of so many activities involving LOCAL citizens from each of these four areas.Why on earth are we TALKING about promoting a LOCALISED agenda rather than a centralised one but not walking the talk!

    I have always prided myself that we live in a borough which is renowned for education and good schools etc.Well,these are supported by the libraries where our students spend much time preparing notes and studying in a quiet place for their exams.I can see they will now be handicapped no thanks to this cut.You can be sure our exam results will reflect the change in due course.Can we really be so short-sighted.Surely we can think of initiatives to generate some extra funding to help keep these open.One lost,we will never get these precious resources back!.

    One other thing.We use our Rayners Lane library for our Mother and Toddler groups ,reading sessions with young folk,so that they develop an appetite for this from an early age ,as well as a very important venue for our LOCAL SAFER NEIGHBOURHOOD TEAM SURGERY,held every single month.

    These are extremely valuable services in addition to everything else our local library provides.Many pensioners come to read books and newspapers and simply get out of their house.We even provide a weekly computer session,free of charge, for beginners and also help resolve some queries about computers.

    Many come on foot so they will be stuck for all these facilities.Where does Harrow Council expect us to go ?Are we hell-bent on bringing down the educational standards and facilities in our borough?Surely we don’t wish to be another Brent..

    There are issues about disability access to Rayners Lane library.However,this could easily be sorted with the help of ramps at the entrance and inside as well,with a little careful planning.The upstairs could be used for people who do not have any disability and perhaps hired out at a reasonable amount to aspiring groups/businesses.Ask the local public for their ideas and support instead of robbing them of such a vital service.

    Has there been any consultation with local residents?One is left wondering HOW these areas were selected since the areas ear-marked with library closures seem to have a higher proportion of Ethnic groups.

    The ill thought-out closures will only make it harder for those whose first language is NOT English to try and improve their language skills—-presenting the Council with a raft of difficulties and avoidable expense —hitherto not envisaged in the not -so- far future.

    Please re-consider these closures as they will cost us dear in the end.

  3. Alison Forrest

    Public libraries are one of the few free community spaces that hold an area together. They help every age group from isolated parents with new babies, through storytimes, Bookstart and homework help, up to “Silver Surfers” learning the basics of accessing the Internet, and getting out to meet socially. They cater to all ethnic groups and provide the opportunity for studying, job-hunting and reading group socialising. Does this Council, and this Government which is starving Councils of funds, feel proud of dismantling community resources? They are taking us back to pre-Victorian times, where the poor are further disadvantaged, and society is divided clearly between those that can pay, and those that can’t. Oh and who cares about those lonely old people that would like a warm place to pop to for a chat? Community is dying in Harrow……

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