OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Haringey has proposed closing some libraries on Sundays and there is a thread relating to the consultation on this site

The Lib Dem response seems Pavlovian at best. Surely they should have put a little thought into what they say not just start salivating at the thought of something to oppose. There are deeper implications than just having to wait until Monday to return your over due books.

 

According to this Haringey piece Wood Green library is the 9th busiest in England by visitor numbers. This website has an analysis of busy-ness as measured by books issued .

Haringey is proposing to consult on a cultural strategy and libraries seem to play a part in that, which again seems like good news for libraries.

But I do have some nagging doubts. If libraries are to become "community hubs" and to make a profit, then where will we put the books - Crouch End's library in Haringey Park does still have a small area set aside for these anachronisms, but much more space for internet terminals and videos. The local history section has been replaced by an "Unlibrary"! Its all very well having 65,000 visits a month to Wood Green library, but are we sure that the original purpose of the library has not been lost.

What happens when librarians become "community hub liaison and facilitation directors"?   Evolution is a wonderful thing, provided that the mutation is actually more fit for its purpose.

 

Claire Kober has written an article on Haringey libraries.

 

Tags: closure, crouch end, crouchend, haringey, hornsey, library, london, n8

Views: 329

Replies to This Discussion

In the interests of research I have just walked home via the library. On the way I saw two Veolia employees in a striking purple and day glow yellow livery. I would have taken their picture but they seemed a little daunting. 

In the library I noted:

  • most of the internet terminals busy - an elderly gentleman had overflowed into the under 16s only area - v sensible I feel
  • Many studious looking people sitting on the ground floor at various desks
  • the quiet room upstairs absolutely packed with very studious looking young people presumably in the throes of revision
  • the cafe area busy with the overflow from the quiet room 

 

If today is typical this library should not be closed on a Sunday. Given that its main function today seems to be as a quiet place to study I think Claire Kober is completely, totally and utterly wrong to say in this month's Haringey People "We’ve come a long way since the days when libraries were seen only as places for quiet reflection"

If the original purpose of the library has been lost, doesn't the fact that the computer terminals are constantly busy show that the library has sought to meet the demands of what people actually want? 

I wouldn't have thought it sensible to keep libraries open, filling the space with books people don't read.  Far better to become a community hub where those that can't get to a pc at home or find it too distracting can actually log on and do their homework or research.

I love books and I love libraries and would hate to see the end of either but from what you say, I can't see how this 'mutation' is not fit for its purpose?  I've just discovered the Unilibrary and think it's a wonderful innovation.

I think my point has not got across - the library is still a place for quiet reflection and study, whether over piles of books as, today, in the reading room upstairs, where dozens of students were quietly reflecting on the exams to come, or at the computer screens where, today, a dozen or so internet students were quietly marvelling at the wonders of wikipedia or at project gutenberg or at big, beautiful women in all their natural glory. Whether they serve their precious information in the form of books, or screens on a computer, or images projected onto the retina, or thought waves beamed into your mind, or babel fish stuck in your ear, they are still places for quiet reflection, not somewhere you queue up to pay for your cpz ticket.
Well yes, if that was your point, I agree.  I thought you were worried about the internet usage and a move towards it being a community hub.  But I am tired and have eaten too much olive tapenade to be thinking straight!
Yes I am a regular at the unlibrary myself; I think it is a really interesting idea - or to be more precise a work in progress. Have you met Anke Holst and Chris Meade the unlibrarians? There is also Robin who runs the portable bookshop.

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