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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Have what little say you can on New Addington Library

The closure of the purpose-built New Addington library is not negotiable, according to sources. The decision was taken without any consultation with library users and local residents.The closure of the library, which many suspect is to make way for a Tesco store or similar, is being pitched to the public as a relocation.

The library will be moved into the nearby CALAT (Adult Education) building, joining CALAT, Job Centre Plus and The Little Stars Nursery, who currently occupy the space. In addition to adding library services the centre will also provide housing and council enquiry services and will be renamed The New Addington Hub.  That's an awful lot to pack into an already well-occupied and well-used space!

The move has been delayed several times, originally announced by Cllr Sara Bashford back in January 2012, via the local press when she struggled to come up with feasible responses to the obvious questions a move like this raised, such as exactly where would the library space be allocated within the building and she was unable to give any reassurances regarding book stock. Admitting she simply did not know what space the library might be able to occupy seems a very inadequate level of detail on which to base such a major decision.

Since then there has been an extensive cull of books in preparation for the move, leaving row upon row of empty shelves and top shelves 'filled' with books displayed, front on, to help fill the void. The valuable courses run at the CALAT Centre have been cut also, as has much of their teaching space, in order to accommodate the new hub.

The latest news though is that a consultation has been launched to find out what library users value, and copies are available in the library yet a press release regarding this is yet to be released.

The consultation is pretty basic. The council are not asking what impact this new arrangement might have on you, the resident, but then it is very difficult to say with such scant information.

If you wish to have what little say the council will permit you to make, you can find the adults' and the children's consultation documents on line here:

The closing date is 21 October, 2012 - a Sunday when not one of Croydon libraries is open to receive your response and Royal Mail will not be delivering.

Unfortunately the hard copies, only just hitting libraries this week, already muddy the waters as they are clearly printed with the closing date of 30th September. No doubt residents will be delighted to learn that that Cllr Tim Pollard, who replaced Cllr 'Booktoken' Bashford as lead in the area of libraries, is carrying on the Croydon tradition of flawed library consultations.

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