Hayes & Harlington Gazette

Uncertain future for library


- By MEGAN STANLEY megan.stanley@reachplc.com @megan_stanley_

A WEST London council may end up closing a library because it is only used by teenagers.

Harlington library is based in a secondary school which puts off the general public from using it, council documents claim.

Hillingdon Council may launch a public consultati­on to decide the future of Harlington Library because it intends to close it. A report that will be discussed next week claims that the library has the lowest book borrowing out of all 17 libraries in the borough.

The report says: “Harlington library is well visited by students who attend the school, but has low usage among the wider population that a public library is intended to serve. The majority of visits to the library are among students using it as a school library for computers and revision, during times set out for them to visit during school hours”

During the week, the library sees approximat­ely 400 people visit per day, but on Saturdays that falls to less than 70 people. As a result, Hillingdon Council will be asking the public if they should decommissi­on it, which means the general public will no longer be allowed to use it.

The council does not own the building, but during 2022 and 2023, the library cost Hillingdon Council £250,000 to run. A new facility is being built, which will place the library further within the school grounds which may risk fewer residents using it because it will not be visible from the main road.

If, following the public consultati­on, the council does decommissi­on the public library the school will have full control and use of the library. Hillingdon Council has said it will gift the book stock and PCs to the secondary school for students to use.

Nearby libraries in Botwell Green and West Drayton will remain open for public use, and are within travel distance for Harlington residents.

A mobile library service will continue to visit locations across the Borough, including Pinkwell Ward where Harlington Library sits.

Hillingdon Council’s cabinet was due to discuss the future of Harlington Libary at a meeting on Thursday, February 16.

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