Brent Youth Parliament join the fight to save 6 libraries

by barhamlibrary

Friends of Barham Library welcomed the recommendations made by members of Brent’s Youth Parliament to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 28th April but expressed regret that some councillors blocked most of the recommendations.

The Overview and Scrutiny Call In Committee met on Wednesday 28th April to discuss the ‘call in’ of the Library Transformation Project, approved by the Council’s Executive earlier in April, which will see 6 libraries being closed.

Representatives from many of the libraries facing closure attended the meeting to put their case, as did members of the Youth Parliament.

Concern was expressed regarding the impact closing the 6 libraries could have on young people – with over half the active users of the 6 libraries being under 19 years old.

At the meeting the Youth Parliament representatives expressed their concern, and the concerns of other young people in Brent, about the proposals to close 6 libraries and suggested the following recommendations for the Council’s Executive:

  1. The Executive to ensure that the existing libraries or suitable alternative local premises continue to be available for young people throughout the 2011 exam period
  2. The Executive to look again at the implications and consequences of closing six libraries on young people living in the areas nearby
  3. The Executive to consider provision of facilities of access to computers and revision space during exam periods in subsequent years in those areas where libraries are being closed. In addition, the Executive should ensure that as far as possible young people are made aware of these facilities.

Sadly, only the first of these recommendations was voted through. Some Councillors on the committee blocked numbers 2 and 3. However, this still means that the Council’s Executive must consider the first recommendation and decide whether they will ensure suitable premises will be made available to young people through the exam period.

Speaking about the meeting, Cllr Paul Lorber, from Friends of Barham Library said,

“I think it’s a real shame that most councillors on the committee didn’t listen to Brent’s Youth Parliament members, who are only raising sensible concerns about the impact closing these libraries will have on young people. With the exam period coming up it will be really important for young people to have space to study, I hope Brent Council will make an effort not to disrupt that.

The fact is most people who responded to the survey didn’t want libraries to close. Brent Council could have done things differently but they had their minds made up to close libraries long before the consultation was even started.”

You can read the statement from Brent Youth Parliament here – Brent Youth Parliament’s Recommendations to Overview and Scrutiny.