A local mother of three who runs a toddler group at Barham Volunteer Library has collected over 150 signatures from residents who want Brent Council to give local people back their historic library building in Barham Park.
Waheeda Bibi lives in Chaplin Road Sudbury and runs a mother and toddler group at the Barham Volunteer Library in Wembley High Road. Her 5-year old daughter is one of the Brent children who missed out on her reception year at school because of the Brent school places crisis. Going to the library and taking part in activities with other youngsters has helped her learning and development, according to Waheeda.
The volunteer library is forced to rent temporary premises in Wembley High Road because it has been denied access to the Barham Park library building, which has stood empty since it was closed in October 2011 by Brent Labour Councillors.
Waheeda Bibi said:
It’s desperately sad to see the library standing there empty when we remember it buzzing with activity. The library was especially popular with children and with some of the area’s older residents who appreciated the parkland setting. Most of them have not been able to switch to Brent’s few remaining libraries given the inconvenient and time-consuming journeys required.
The building was donated to the council for the benefit of local people. It’s time the council lived up to that commitment. The new council Leader has made some positive comments but not done anything practical to help so far. I hope our petition shows him the passion and commitment we have.
Local charity Friends of Barham Library, which runs the volunteer library, has offered to run library services from the Barham Park library building. The group currently runs the volunteer library from temporary rented property in Wembley High Road. The volunteer library is open three days a week and is popular with children and families.
Sudbury councillor and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Paul Lorber added:
It is the young people who suffer most from the decision by Labour Councillors to close half the libraries in Brent. Volunteers from the Friends of Barham Library are doing a great job providing a valuable service from their temporary shop premises at 428 High Road Wembley. We could do so much more if only the Council came to their senses and allowed us back into the empty library building in Barham Park.
The Barham Volunteer Library at 428 Wembley High Road is open on Saturdays between 11am and 4pm and on Mondays and Wednesdays between 12 noon and 5pm.
The Friends of Barham Library have launched a fundraising campaign to help cover the costs of running activities from the Barham Park library building. For further information see www.barhamlibrary.wordpress.com or search for Friends of Barham Library on Facebook.