Oct 24 2011 By Jessica Thompson
Brent MP Sarah Teather
A BRENT MP called upon the council to have a "grown up" conversation with library campaigners and keep the treasured community facilities open.
In light of last Wednesday's announcement that Brent SOS library campaigners will be allowed to appeal to overturn the High Court's decision, Ms Teather wrote to Gareth Daniels, the chief executive of Brent Council.
She urged the authority to properly consider the library campaigner’s proposals for keeping the six libraries open.
Ms Teather, who is also Children and Families minister, said: “Everyone I talk to in Brent wants the libraries to stay open and I hope that the Labour Council can take this opportunity to reflect on their actions, see sense and start talking to local people.
“I have written to the council’s chief executive to urge him to sit down and speak to library campaigners and community groups to see if there is any way that we can keep these vital facilities open. Many of the library groups are willing to take the lead in running the six libraries – they just need to be given the chance."
Ms Teather highlighted that many of the business plans put forward by the friends of the libraries and campaigners make use of teams of volunteers and involve the sharing of library space with other community groups, social enterprises or cafes.
A spokesman for Ms Teather said: "There is evidence from other councils willing to support these community projects, such as Hillingdon and Lewisham councils, that proposals such as these can not only keep the libraries open but can also revitalise their use.
"A negotiated solution at this point would also mean that Brent Council could stop wasting tax-payers money fighting its own residents and start protecting the services treasured by the community."
Following the original high court decision, which came as a heartbreaking blow to Brent SOS, the MP also wrote to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, to urge the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to instigate a local inquiry into the closure of half the libraries in the borough.
What do you think? Let us know by emailing email@example.com or follow @annajessicat on Twitter