Here at High Living we’re already well aware of the current threats to local libraries, but we’ve recently heard more worrying news.
Next Tuesday our excellent Chipping Barnet Library will be closing temporarily and its future is looking uncertain. We feel very strongly about this and some of you have already been in touch expressing your concerns, particularly parents of young children who regularly attend events there.
The temporary closure will last until February 6th paving the way for Barnet Council to introduce a self-service operation in April which will involve the building being generally unstaffed. According to the Barnet Society while the building is closed there will be “general refurbishment of the library space”; the layout of shelving and location of PCs will be altered; a small community room will be provided on the ground floor; and the Hyde room will be converted into “lettable space”. More refurbishment will be carried out later in 2017.
However, the Barnet Society has pointed out that in order to refurbish the building in this way and introduce commercially available space Barnet Council needs to acquire the necessary planning permission for “significant change of use”. This has not yet been obtained and residents and library users have been informed they have until Thursday 15 December to register their objections.
To do this, please follow this link, hit the button for “view, track and comment on planning applications” and then insert the planning application reference 16/7415/FUL.
Furthermore, to demonstrate the depth of local anger, the Barnet Society is organising a peaceful mass read-in outside the library at 11am on Monday 5 December – the day the library temporarily closes its doors. You are invited to go along with a book to show your support.