Our Libraries – have your say on improving the borough’s libraries
Residents are being asked to give their views on how Council libraries could be improved and ensure they cater for more of Hackney’s communities in an increasingly digital world, in an engagement campaign launched today.
The Our Libraries campaign aims to understand how libraries are currently used by residents and what changes they would like to see to ensure the buildings and services in them remain fit for the future – whether it’s a quiet place to complete work, more cultural activities or easy access to other Council services.
No libraries will close as part of the review, and the Council wants to see more people using them and an even greater variety of activities and services delivered in them – not less.
Responses will directly inform the Council’s aspirations, including ideas to develop stronger links with community groups, the culture and heritage sector and local businesses, as well as introducing more Council services into libraries – placing them at the heart of Hackney’s community and cultural life.
More often than not whenever we talk about libraries we speak of them with fondness. For many we have carried on visiting libraries as we get older, using the spaces they provide to inform ourselves, to use computers or just find a quiet indoor space to read, to do some work or revise for an exam.
For some visiting the local library helps tackle loneliness and social isolation; for others they are meeting places to meet friends or like-minded neighbours.
But others pass by their local library, reassured by its presence but never actually go in to use it, and there are others who are completely ambivalent about the need for a library who don’t intend to ever visit.
We think there is an important role for libraries in our borough. Already they are open and inclusive places that help create a fairer, more equal Hackney, they are places that can and do provide an open door to opportunity for all residents. Our libraries are run by experienced and professional staff and we have made sure the Council is committed to a programme of works to refurbish and renovate our libraries and in some cases rebuild a library.
Now it's your turn to tell the Mayor and the Council what you would like to see happening in your local library and just as importantly, what you don’t need. Get in touch with your thoughts and ideas and let’s together, build a thriving future for our libraries.