AFTER 7 MONTHS ‘WORK’ WE HAVE LESS THAN WE STARTED WITH
When they closed down Bethnal Green Library back in April 2015, we were told that the improvements we would receive will be well worth waiting for.
We were to have improved displays, a cafe, and better facilities.
We were told originally that the works would take three months. That stretched to 4 months, then 5, then six and then 7 months. It was finally reopened this week, with all of the regular users looking forward to seeing the new facilities.
What a joke this has turned out to be.
The reference section has been lost completely, so have the loan of CD’s and DVD’s.
The Childrens library has now been combined with the PC using area, and moved into a fifth of what was the main adults library, where CD’s DVD’s and the music department were, and causing a major safety risk to the children, in that they are now forced to share an area with strange adults.
In the Adults Library area, the top racks on the periforal bookshelves have now been laid empty, and all of the bookshelves which were up to 2 metres high and full of books have been cut down to waist height, ensuring that anyone like myself who has spine damage or back problems cannot bend down enough to scan through the books.
The new Library, with reduced shelving and up to 60% of the books removed.
So basically all they have done is to stuff a part of the childrens library into the adults one, reduce the number of adult books on the shelves by around 60%, with most of those remaining inaccessable to those with back problems.
The rooms which were the Reference area and the Childrens Library have now been closed off from public use.
The only purpose I can see for this is that Tower Hamlets Council are preparing to close down the Bethnal Green Library using the age-old management trick of making it unwelcome to users, therefore reducing foot-fall, giving them an excuse to close it down. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. I have seem this tactic used too many times before.
Not one of the promises made about service improvements has been carried through. There are no refreshment fascilities at all.
None of the café facilities promised have appeared.
I personally thought that they were going to use this closure to bring this library in line with the Idea Store network, but they’ve not even done that.
I have been a user of Bethnal Green Library since I was around 4 years old, in 1958, until it’s closure for rebuilding in April 2015. That’s 57 years. Sadly there is now nothing there for me any more.