Despite the strong community protests and a campaign supported by Westminster Labour Group in autumn 2016 Westminster Council Conservatives have pushed ahead with their plans to cut £750,000 from Westminster’s library budget. Although our public pressure helped to save a few of the frontline posts, it has become clear that the cuts have included the post of Chinese Services Coordinator who manages the work of the Westminster Chinese Library at Charing Cross Library, home to one of the largest collections of Chinese materials in the country with over 50,000 Chinese language books and other resources. The council plans to replace this hugely experienced specialist with a ‘Community Development Manager’ covering resources for members of all of Westminster’s hugely diverse BAME communities.
This short sighted decision has caused deep anger in London’s Chinese community as the library is an important resource for nearby Chinatown. Labour Councillors Adam Hug and Paul Dimoldenberg have written urgently to Westminster’s Chief Executive and the Director of Libraries and Archives demanding an explanation and challenging the lack of prior consultation with the Chinese community about this damaging change.