Libraries can be essential for studying

Residents help H&F turn a new page for libraries

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is working with residents to draw up plans to improve our libraries by creating thriving community hubs – while protecting them from harsh government funding cuts.

A public meeting to discuss ideas was held earlier in the month. And the council is now drawing up more detailed approach based on residents’ feedback.

“Libraries are places of inspiration and learning for young and old as well as important places for quiet study,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services. 

“Whether it’s discovering a new favourite author, the next course to help you develop your skills, or using the free wi-fi or e-books, we all love them. This is why we’re developing new plans to shield our libraries from government cuts and help them thrive.”

Ideas to improve our libraries include:

  • Extra services for residents which people say they are happy to pay for, such as coffee stalls, more Amazon lockers and the hire of unused parts of Fulham Library for weddings and other events
  • Hiring spaces within libraries when they are closed for clubs and other activities
  • Providing spaces for microbusinesses and start-ups
  • Sponsorship and crowdfunding
  • Volunteers providing classes and events.

 Brackenbury Primary pupil Benjamin Chang reads books with journalist Jeremy Paxman on opening day of Shepherds Bush Library at Westfield
Brackenbury Primary pupil Benjamin Chang reads books with journalist Jeremy Paxman on opening day of Shepherds Bush Library at Westfield

There was also discussion about how residents can be given more control over libraries by unlocking funding from sources that councils can’t normally apply for.

Library user and Fulham resident Iqbal Dharsi, 50, said he was happy to hear that the council was protecting libraries from government spending cuts at a time when many councils across the UK were having to reduce library services.

“There are many arts and crafts programmes, there are specific programmes for children, students get to come and study here after school,” he added. “And out of work people get a chance to use the computers to look for jobs.”

More details about H&F’s libraries are available available on our website.