Yet more bad news about the Conservative Council’s plans for Westminster’s libraries have been revealed with confirmation that the new temporary home for the Marylebone Library will be smaller, have fewer services, books and staff even than its current temporary site on Beaumont Street.
As previously chronicled by the Labour Group, Westminster Council had promised a new permanent home for the Marylebone Library by Spring 2015 but the scheme has run wildly over time and budget, with sources indicating residents will be waiting until at least 2020, and maybe significantly beyond, for it to be finally delivered. However not only is the council not finding ways to plug the gap by providing the extra services that would have been provided at a permanent home, the upcoming move in February 2017 to 9-11 New Cavendish Street will see lead to a number of things getting worse.
- As part of the Council plans for major staff cuts Marylebone Library will lose the equivalent of over 7 full-time members of staff.
- There will be a reduction in the amount of stock that the library will be able to display and store at the New Cavendish temporary site.
- The Marylebone Information service and Reference Library will not directly transfer to the new site in their current form. There will be significantly less study space at the New Cavendish site.
- There are currently no plans for a dedicated children’s library in the New Cavendish Temporary building (though there will be an ‘area’).
Westminster Labour Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “The next few years are looking pretty bleak for Marylebone Library. The past claims of Conservative Cabinet Members about delivering a ‘state of the art new library’ for 2015 are ringing pretty hollow when residents are faced with a further downgrade in 2017 that will last for several years. This is yet another blow to Westminster’s cherished library service.”