Concerns have been raised with Voices about upcoming library cuts in Cambridgeshire especially about plans for the Central Library;
“Councillors are set to discuss proposals to create an enterprise and innovation centre in Cambridge Central Library at the next Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee on 17 March. In January the Committee endorsed plans to develop a new strategy for the future of our Library Service in order to meet tough financial savings. Part of this work involves us working with others to increase support for people to build skills and employment whilst encouraging local economic growth. Proposals are being put forward to change the third floor of Central Library, enabling the service to develop an income whilst supporting employment prospects and small local businesses.”
We’ve been told that this proposal will actually mean that the third floor of the Central Library will be subletted and will become a ‘Library Enterprise Centre’. The Regus Group, a multinational corporation that lets office space in prime locations for profit, has been mentioned which fits neatly with this recent article:
“Regus said yesterday it planned to bridge the gap between higher education and working life by launching offices in universities and public libraries.” [Source: CityAM]
There are also concerns about the affordability of this office space for small local businesses, loss of stock, loss of affordable community meeting space used by reading groups etc and the loss a popular cafe much loved by older library users. There is a feeling that these changes will have a detrimental impact on the library being perceived as a true community space. Concerns have also been raised with us about transparency and lack of consultation before protracted negotiations with Regus and the councillors’ decision.
For more information and background see;
Cambridgeshire County Council – Enterprise centre proposals set to be discussed
Cambridgeshire County Council – Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre
Cambridgeshire County Council – Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee – 17th March 2015. Please note the document titled ‘Report’ under item 5 Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre.
Cambridgeshire County Council – Library Services : developing our approach for the future