LIBRARIES in Brent will reopen next year if the Liberal Democrats are voted into power, the party has pledged.
The party has pledged to re-open community libraries as part of their campaign ahead of the local elections which will take place on Thursday May 22.
Liberal Democrat council group leader and library campaigner Paul Lorber said: “Liberal Democrat councillors stood side by side with the local community to oppose Labour’s library closures. Despite massive opposition Labour forced through the closure of half of our community libraries. Labour then refused to work constructively with the volunteer library groups and has consistently voted down Liberal Democrat proposals to put things right.”
The group promised to reopen closed libraries in cooperation with volunteers and Friends’ groups and provide paid staff and support from professional librarians, provide technology and staff support to volunteers and Friends’ groups so they can take advantage of the council’s bookstock, IT and loan systems and help with training and grant funding.
Barham Park, Preston, Kensal Rise, Cricklewood, Neasden and Tokyngton were all closed in October 2011 and the buildings are in various states.
The Barham Park library building is empty, Cricklewood and Kensal Rise are owned by a developer but it is hoped a community space would be built in to any new developments, Preston is under control of the council and is currently being used as temporary classrooms, Neasden has been leased to a church group and the Tokyngton building has been sold.
If the Liberal Democrats are successful at the election libraries run by volunteers and supported by the council would open in all the former premises or at least in the vicinity.
All libraries except Neasden and Tokyngton have very active Friends’ groups who would be involved with the running of any reopened library.
Mr Lorber said: “The volunteer libraries have shown us there is local need and they have so much to offer. The libraries would run with the support of the council and be linked in to the council system so books could be reserved and ordered across all libraries.”