Books left unreturned following sudden closure of six libraries in Brent
Residents left with borrowed items from axed branches
Brent Council closed six libraries in the borough today without giving people time to return borrowed books and DVDs.
Dozens of people have been visiting the libraries this afternoon to drop off their borrowed items but are being told to take them elsewhere.
Earlier this morning a High Court judge ruled in favour of the Labour council’s decision to close half of the borough’s reading rooms.
The libraries which have been closed for good are Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton.
Hundreds of children gathered outside Kensal Rise Library, in Bathurst Gardens, this afternoon to protest against the High Court ruling.
Campaigner, Phil O’Shea, said: “I have been amazed by the passion of the local mums and children.
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“They are generally upset at losing their libraaries. It is tragic. Brent Council might be cracking open the champagne to celebrate but it is depriving children of books to read. It is not Brent’s finest hour.”
Meanwhile campaigner Phil Bromberg said people were being turned away from Preston Road. He said: “There have been dozens of people coming to the library today but no notice was given to tell them it was shutting for good today.
“There have been people trying to give books back but they are being told to go elsewhere. There is even a security guard on the door. How much of taxpayers’ money is going on paying this security guard when the library itself has closed? It is outrageous.”
The council’s widely publicised ‘Word Up’ programme had many events due to take place at the doomed libraries over the school half term for children.
Councillor Paul Lorber, leader of Brent Liberal Democrat group, said: “It is a disgrace to close the libraries without even allowing borrowers to bring their books back.
“It’s simply vindictive to deny young children their half-term fun – especially as it is children who will be affected most by the library closures.
“There is no good reason why the libraries shouldn’t stay open over half-term and until we know whether there will be an appeal.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said people should return books to their next nearest library and that the Word Up events would take place elsewhere in the borough.
Residents can see below for their nearest alterative library to return books
Barham Park - nearest alternative: Ealing Road
Cricklewood - nearest alternative: Willesden Green
Kensal Rise - nearest alternative: Kilburn
Neasden - nearest alternative: Town Hall
Preston - nearest alternative: Kingsbury
Tokyngton - nearest alternative: Harlesden