Council deny selling off libraries

By Ruth McKee in Education

THE COUNCIL has denied that they are gearing up to flog off five of the borough’s libraries.

Council chiefs have formally opened the bidding process for expressions of interest in five of the borough’s libraries, namely Enfield Island Village library, Bullsmoor Library, Oakwood library, Winchmore Hill Library and Fore Street Library.

Organisations are being encouraged to apply to lease the buildings from The Council before February 26.

They would pay rent to the local authority and would be responsible for the upkeep of the building – but The Council maintain that whatever books and library services that would remain in the re-purposed building would be looked after by The Council.

The libraries are being rebranded as “community libraries” which will have reduced services and fewer books available.

Library users will also have to share space with clients of whatever organisation is successful in taking over the buildings.

Asked why third-parties would be interested in a scheme where they do not have full use of the space, an Enfield Council spokesman said: “The third party organisations would benefit from renting high quality space in strategic locations around Enfield which would benefit them and their clients while the council would benefit from having a partner organisation which would manage the building for the council and pay rent to us, enabling us to maintain a first rate library service during a difficult financial period.

“Enfield Council will continue to run and provide library services from each of the locations in question.”

The Advertiser understands from a source inside The Council that there will be “a handful” of compulsory redundancies as a result of the restructuring of the service.

Of the 85 full time library positions before the restructuring took place, 53 people remain in full time employment, according to The Council “a handful” of people are facing compulsory redundancy with the remaining taking voluntary redundancy or were found other employment by The Council.

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