Thursday, 14 June 2018

Meanwhile, at the Library....

The Library has closed its doors to the public for the last time, and the books are being boxed up.
The new Library, at the School, will open on Monday, in what the County Council are calling a "brand new flexible community space" according to the article in the B&R. Also according to the B&R, the County Council are saying that they hope the new library space will "open up opportunities for residents and community groups" to utilise a community resource for a multitude of activities. They say that the space can easily be re-arranged to suit a variety of activities.
Every single one of those activities, except perhaps the suggested possibility of cookery demonstrations, could be done in the existing Library building, which also has more space than the new building at the school. I'm not sure how practical cookery would be at the new building, even though it has a little kitchenette.
One of the suggestions was a "knit and natter" group - I belong to the local Stitch and Bitch group, and we meet at Kilverts on the first Thursday of the month from 6pm to 8pm - where we can also buy a drink, which won't be possible at the Library. Maybe the Council should have talked to the local groups before blithely declaring they could meet in the new Library.

The new Library will only be open for 12 hours a week - Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to midday, and 1pm until 3pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 12.30pm.
So any adults at work during the week will only be able to go to the library on Saturday mornings.
Any secondary school pupils who want to use the library will only be able to go on Saturday mornings.
The parents of children at Hay School are already complaining that their children will not be able to go to the library after school, and it hasn't even opened yet. The school has already decided to use the space for after school clubs most afternoons.

Rachel Powell, the portfolio holder at the County Council for young people, culture and leisure, says that the new library will include "a great range of books" as well as computers, wi-fi and information for residents on other council services.
But there's no point in having "a great range of books" if you can't get to the Library when it's open, and in any case there will be fewer books, because the space is smaller. And the "new and exciting activities" could have been housed in the original Library building if there had been the will to do so.

This morning, I was approached by two ladies who want to start some sort of community activity for local mums (I forget what it was). They wanted to know if I'd put a poster up, and if I had any idea of where they could go to find a suitable venue.
There used to be a community centre, which was knocked down, of course. The new school only provides a small fraction of the space that the community centre used to offer. Rachel Powell can talk about "new and exciting activities" all she likes, but the new school and library complex is not an adequate replacement for the amount of space there used to be in Hay for community activities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How long will it be until Powys CC try and close this vital service completely? I expect they will use the excuse of low footfall, whist failing to acknowledge a drop in service user numbers is entirely due to the restrictive opening times.