Mar 24 2011 By Tara Brady
Neighbours have fought off two attempts to shut Barham Library in the last 10 years, but this is proving to be the toughest battle yet
MORE than 200 protesters took part in a read-in and storytelling session at a Sudbury library to campaign against its planned closure.
Neighbours have fought off two attempts to shut Barham Library in the last 10 years, but this is proving to be the toughest battle yet.
The library, in Barham Park, has only recently been refurbished at a cost of £200,000 and boasts a new children’s centre. But Brent Council wants to close it along with five other libraries - Cricklewood, Neasden, Tokyngton, Kensal Rise and Preston - to save cash.
The big losers from the closure would be nearby schools, which use the library for day trips and projects, and older people living in Sudbury.
Vi Steele, chairwoman of Brent Pensioners’ Forum, said: "I think it was really important to come out and show Brent Council how much I and other residents value our local library. It would be such a shame to close Barham Library as it forms a really important part of the lives of many older people and the many, many young people who use it for schoolwork and study."
Chairman of Brent Youth Parliament, Kishan Parshotam, who was at the protest, said: "Young people often use this learning area, set in a beautiful landscape. Brent cannot afford to lose this library."
Councillor Paul Lorber, Liberal Democrat councillor for Sudbury who helped organise the event, added: "It was great to see so many people turn out to support their local library. Barham Library sits in a unique setting in the park and forms a vital service for people."
Brent Council has received seven petitions, including the Observer’s, calling for the libraries to be saved. Each petition will be considered separately, but the council must receive 5,000 signatures on one petition to spark a fresh debate about the closures.
A Brent Council spokeswoman said: "We are currently in the process of carefully analysing all of the feedback we have received during the three-month consultation to ensure that all of the views expressed by respondents are given due consideration."
The results of the council’s analysis will be part of a report that will be submitted to the executive by April 11, when a final decision will be made.