Library visits in Brent are up almost 150,000 per year since 2011/12. It would be really interesting to see in some detail how we have achieved this, but I have a pretty strong hunch that updated facilities in libraries like Wembley have played a big part in that role.
In the meantime we have worked with residents to get some sort of provision back for Kensal Rise, which I know my colleagues there are very excited about. We’re also looking forward to the topping out of the new library/cultural centre building at Willesden Green.
As part of this we are looking to have a bigger focus on computer access and things like iPads. Some decisions about plans within the space will come up soon at cabinet. My hope is that we’ll continue as planned to have some provision for customer service access. There are other ideas that residents have contributed around retail space, community space, and how residents will be involved in the running of the library. I understand that Council officers are still working to create appropriate proposals for fitting these services together and deciding how we can guarantee community input once they are in place.
Together with a building which is much better looking and significantly greener, I’m hoping that the new build and the modernisation of the services offered will lead to a significantly bigger rise again in the number of people using libraries and create a real focal point to the ward. That way we will have residents using these valuable services for even more than they did since the council was first confronted with Tory budget cuts.
Last of all, often forgotten in big projects like this are the residents and business owners around the site. Residents on nearby roads have put up with a lot of mess, noise and other sorts of disruption both from the library build and from Thames Water’s renewal of sewerage systems in the area.
My colleagues Lesley Jones and Bernard Collier are both joining me to make sure that these concerns are followed up and dealt with appropriately as far as the Council is able to do so. We are also making sure that the Town Team are involved and that there is a good working relationship between them and Galliford Try.
If you have any concerns about the build or want to know more about our libraries generally, please contact me using the details to the right/above.