Highgate Library in Shepherds Hill, Haringey, is 110 years old and is housed in a lovely purpose built 'mock tudor' Edwardian building.
On the 17/5/17 the 'Highgate Library Action Group (HLAG)' along with local councillors and architect Katy Marks hosted a "a round-table discussion", they then held their AGM on 24/5/17, among those who attended (invited to?) the AGM where the Leader of Haringey Council, Claire Kober, the Cabinet Member for Finance & Health, Jason Arthur and architect Katy Marks, so a pretty strong (heavy?) pro-merger presence.
The AGM from what I've been told was a lively affair with some on HLAG, including the Chair, seemingly keen on the proposals and others, including a HLAG committee member and a regular library user not so keen. In fact a vigorous opposition has emerged with a petition, twitter account (@HighgateStays) and FB page being set up. There have also been several articles in the local press.
I'm hoping to attend one of the consultation events taking place on 22/6/17 in order to hear more about the plans and to voice my concerns which at the moment are;
How far gone are the proposals? It seems that a lot of time and effort has been spent on this even before the so-called 'consultation' process has started with an Arts Council funding application submitted and an architect working on a feasibility study.
Is this just another Muswell Hill Library scenario with the council looking to sell off a valuable building?
Is this just another case of a 'third-sector' organisation, Jacksons Lane, muscling in on the cuts ravaged public sector in order to empire build?
What will the library service look like after the 'merger/collocation'? Will the arts centre be the dominant force and will the library end up as a provision and not a fully comprehensive service (a few shelves of books and some PCs with hub/arts staff rather than dedicated library staff)?
I also have serious concerns about the public perception of a library housed in an arts centre, this partly stems from the fact that most library services are linked with leisure/arts/culture rather than education/learning/information and are therefor easier to cut/privatise/undermine.
Anyway I'll try and attend the 'consultation event' on 22/6/17 and then hopefully have a better view of things after that?
For press coverage and further information see:
Fears grow in Highgate over 110-year-old library’s future homehttp://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/heritage/fears-grow-in-highgate-over-110-year-old-library-s-future-home-1-5032766
Highgate Library ‘being sacrificed’ in possible move to Jacksons Lanehttp://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/heritage/highgate-library-being-sacrificed-in-possible-move-to-jacksons-lane-1-5036626
Architectural Feasibility Study