Consultation on library services

Meeting with Cllr David Williams on October 16 @ Hammersmith Library.

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Library users are being given the chance to put their views on the service directly to Hammersmith & Fulham’s deputy for education, Cllr David Williams.

Cllr Williams, who will be joined by senior library service staff, is visiting the borough’s six libraries over the next few weeks to hear what local people think of the service.

The consultation meetings, which run until 16 October, come as the number of visits to the borough’s libraries and the number of books and other items issued continues to rise.

Times, dates and venues of library consultation meetings:
2.30pm on Sunday, 19 September at Fulham Library, 598 Fulham Road, SW6
6.30pm on Thursday, 23 September at Sands End Library, 59 Broughton Road, SW6
6.30pm on Thursday, 30 September at Shepherds Bush Library, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12
6.30pm on Monday, 4 October at Barons Court Library, North End Crescent, W14
6.30pm on Thursday, 14 October at Askew Road Library, 87-91 Askew Road, W12
2.30pm on Saturday, 16 October at Hammersmith Library, Shepherds Bush Road, W6

Anyone is welcome to attend the library consultations, which last for about one hour. Parents or carers are encouraged to bring children and light refreshments will be provided.

Recent and planned improvements, which are helping to boost visitor figures, include:

Programme of regular children’s craft, storytelling and literacy events. Children who completed this year’s Reading Rollercoaster summer reading challenge will receive certificates and medals at a presentation and party at Hammersmith Library at 5pm on Sunday, 19 September
Other events, including free author visits and readings for Black History Month: Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta and novelist/playwright Courttia Newland at 8pm on 4 October at Hammersmith Library and an evening of new women writers, hosted by Sable Lit Mag, at 8pm on 2 October, also at Hammersmith Library. Hammersmith & Fulham is the lead borough in the Westwords literature development project, with libraries acting as venues for creative writing groups and readings

Relaunch of Sands End Library in the newly revamped Sands End Community Centre, with the library service; adult education; sports development and fitness and Sure Start South’s early years and family support services all now under one roof
DVD collections now at all libraries, as well as CDs and videos

All libraries now have computers with free internet access and more terminals have recently been installed to cope with demand. Fulham and Hammersmith have a computerised system for booking time on the free access terminals

New lift at Fulham Library, opened in June last year, making it easier for wheelchair users, mums with pushchairs and older visitors to use the library. As part of the £272,000 revamp, a new public toilet with facilities for disabled people and nappy changing was built on the ground floor
All six libraries now have public toilets with disabled access as a result of £200,000 worth of improvements by the council.

Cllr Williams said: "It is important that we maintain the momentum of improvement and appeal to people who currently do not use the libraries. We want to hear what local people think about the recent improvements - many of which came out of previous public consultations - and any suggestions they may have for making the service even better.

Sunday opening, new books, DVD collections, better disabled access and new computers with internet access all happened in response to ideas put forward at these annual meetings with users so your views really do make a difference. The improvements, as well as an exciting programme of events for children and adults, have also helped us to increase the number of visits by 15 per cent in the last two years and items issued by more than five per cent over the same period."

Other developments in libraries include the possibility of setting up lending points in adult education centres and town hall receptions, where users could request books from a computer catalogue and collect them later. The system has been successfully piloted with education department staff at Cambridge House, in Hammersmith. Closer working with the adult education service – bringing online learning programmes into libraries - is also being considered.

September 25, 2004