Local people help shape the future of Hackney s libraries

Hackney Council is keeping all eight of its libraries open and recently asked residents what they thought of its plans for the future, set out in the Library and Archives Development Strategy 2011 - 2015.

The 12 week consultation ran from 18 April to 27 June 2011 and more than 700 responses were received. All the feedback has been collated and analysed and will help shape the future of Hackney Council’s Library and Archives Service.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “Hackney Council is keeping all eight libraries open and we will continue to offer some of the longest library opening hours in the country, despite having to make savings.

We have made some changes to our proposals after listening to what people told us. Now we can look to the future and the opening of the new Dalston C.L.R James Library and Hackney Archives later this year.”

The Council proposed changes to the opening hours of all libraries, with the some, including the new library in Dalston opening earlier, others an hour later, with some closing earlier on Fridays.

There was no clear consensus from people who responded but there was a little support for 7am opening at Dalston and a call for more 9am opening elsewhere, particularly in the north of the borough, and especially at Stamford Hill.

As a result, the Council has decided that Stamford Hill, Hackney Central and the new Dalston C.L.R. James Libraries will open 9am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 6pm on Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday.

Stoke Newington and Shoreditch Libraries will open from 10am to 8pm on Monday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm on Fridays and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays.

Clapton and Homerton Libraries will open from 10am to 8pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 1pm to 6pm on Wednesday, 10am to 6pm on Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays.

Woodberry Down will continue to open at 9.30am, but will also now open over the lunch hour.

Dalston C.L.R. James, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill Library will also open on Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. The hours at Hackney Archives are also being extended by five hours each week. The new hours will be introduced later this year

Residents were also asked what they thought about concentrating a reduced number of events and activities at the three main libraries. Dalston C.L.R. James, Hackney Central and Stoke Newington. An alternative proposal, fewer events but at all libraries was also suggested. In either case, children s events and school visits would be held in all libraries.

Most respondents felt that events should not be concentrated in three libraries, so the Council will hold a reduced number of events in all libraries, with the busiest libraries holding the most events, just as they do now.

The Council is committed to improving the service and soon every library will have Wifi and more reference materials available online. The Council is also looking into the provision of out of hours book drops at libraries.

As the consultation showed support for the use of volunteers the Council will look at the possibilities further. Volunteers will not take the place of paid staff.

Dalston C.L.R. James Library and Archives will be one of the largest in the UK to open in 2011, and the first to be built in Hackney for over 20 years. It will open its doors later this year.

For a copy of the consultation report and a full version of the Councils response, including details of library opening times visit

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