About

This website is intended to facilitate opposition to Hackney Library Service four year Library Strategy plan 2011 to 2015.

Hackney Council plans to cut between £80 and £90 million in the next 4

years. Jobs and services are to be cut, and although the council has

pledged that no libraries will close in Hackney over the next year,

serious cuts to the Library Service are planned and about to be put into

action.

Whats going on with Hackney Libraries?

The London Borough of Hackney Library and Archive Strategy 2011 – 2015 has

just been released and is open for comments until 27th of June.

The key points of the strategy are:

All 8 libraries in Hackney will remain open, however efficiency savings

will be made by:

Concentrating resources, facilities and events at the 3 main libraries;

Hackney Central library, the new Dalston Library (CLR James) and Stoke

Newington Library. This will mean people local to the other Hackney

Libraries at Stamford Hill, Homerton, Shoreditch, Clapton and Woodberry

Down, will have to travel further for some essential services, such as

childrens reading groups, older peoples drop-in sessions, etc as well as

events around Black History Month, Jewish Book Week, LGBT month, Family

Learning Month etc.

Currently around 500 events are held in Hackney Libraries annually, this

will drop to around 200, and because staffs jobroles are being downgraded,

the majority of these events will be run by unpaid volunteers.

There will also be reduction of opening hours in all but the 3 main

Hackney Libraries.

Many of us fear that this concentration of resources, staff and events in

the 3 main libraries, will result in less people using the other libraries

and that the resulting drop in footfall could be used to justify closing

libraries in the future.

The reference sections at many of the libraries will be cut, with on-line

and digital resources being offered instead.

Cuts to staffing levels and downgrading of roles.

Alongside this new library strategy, there will be a new library

structure. Staff are currently organising to resist a serious staff

restructure that will see library workers made redundant, serious loss of

pay and significant changes to terms and conditions of employment. The

majority of full-time staff, besides library managers will be downgraded

either 1 or 2 grades, resulting in a drop in annual salary of between

£2,000 and and £5,000, and part-time staff will see a reduction of hours

and increased sunday working.

Libraries will be run with much smaller teams, with new self-service

technology, taking the slack. Self-service technology has been rolled out

across the borough at considerable expense, and although staff and library

users find the technology difficult to use and often unreliable, Hackney

council are lauding their plans to run big libraries on skeleton staff in

conjunction with self-service technology as a blueprint for the future.

This technology cannot provide the experience, knowledge, safety,

interpersonal interactions, that library workers currently provide the

community.

Hackney Library workers provide a good service to the community and all

Hackney Libraries are well used. The communities we serve are diverse and

often economically deprived, with many people coming to use the computers,

newspapers, books, services, ESOL materials, community language books and

magazines, toy libraries, etc that they cannot access at home. Cuts to

jobs and services, rising rents, food prices and bills will see these

services and facilities in even more demand.

Libraries are perhaps the most radical space currently available under

Western capitalism: resources and facilities belong to the community and

are free and available to all, regardless of income and are a relatively

safe space where people can come to read, learn, relax, grow…

Join us in saving these precious resources for future generations.

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