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Library service goes from strength to strength

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Barnet’s libraries continue to offer a fantastic array of services and events for residents of all ages, with a packed calendar of events taking place throughout this year as part of Barnet’s Year of Learning 2019.

The service, which includes keeping all 14 libraries open, offers longer library opening hours, and a number of improvements to the range of digital services available such as e-books, audio books and use of the Pressreader app which gives library card holders free online access to thousands of newspapers and magazines.

Construction of a third new library building is well underway and will open its doors, alongside the brand new leisure centre in New Barnet, later this year.

The service’s Year of Learning is based around an exciting themed calendar of activities which caters for all ages. It offers residents the chance to get involved in a whole host of events ranging from juggling lessons, foreign language skills, Origami and calligraphy; to Bollywood dance and a programme of talks from top name authors.

The council’s approach to providing library services has this month received the backing of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) after it published its evaluation of the council’s redesigned libraries service.

The Secretary of State concluded that he was satisfied that the council was meeting its legal obligations in providing a “comprehensive and efficient service”.

He found there to be no good reason to continue his consideration of the existing complaint into library provision in Barnet.

The DCMS published its findings after considering a range of points raised in a number of representations about the council’s decision in 2016 to redesign the authority’s library service.

Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “It is important that the DCMS has examined the Barnet library service and that the Secretary of State is satisfied that we are providing a comprehensive and efficient service which meets our legal obligations.

“While our financial challenges have meant we’ve made changes to the way the service is run, we are proud that we have kept all of our 14 libraries open, that they are available for longer hours and that we continue to offer our residents a whole range of services and events such those being offered at the moment as part of our 2019 Year of Learning. We have also continued to invest in an improved digital offer to reflect how people access services.

“The new library buildings in Church End and Colindale, which replaced older existing buildings, are very smart, and it will be exciting to see the opening of another brand new facility in New Barnet later this year.”

The full text of the DCMS evaluation can be found on the department’s website.

 More information on Barnet Libraries’ Year of Learning is available online.

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