Volunteers work with council to keep library open

Residents making up the Friends of West Barnes Group in south west London have banded together with support from officers at Merton Council to keep West Barnes Library open for five days a week.

From Monday 4 July 2011 West Barnes Library will remain open on Mondays with volunteers running the service. The library will open from 9:30am to 7pm on Mondays, offering light services to customers, making the most of self-service technology. For the rest of the opening week customers will have access to a full library service run by library staff.

The decision comes after a 3-month consultation period where the community was given an opportunity to decide if they wanted to go ahead with proposed closures at West Barnes and Donald Hope libraries, or if they wanted to find an alternative way to keep them open.

Following an intensive period of training and recruitment The Friends of West Barnes group now has 15 fully trained volunteers for the Monday openings with a further 25 to come on board shortly. However more volunteers are required to take on the position of Volunteer Supervisor which will be responsible for running the library when staff are not present including opening and closing the building when required.

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for community and culture said: “This is fantastic news and a victory for both the community of West Barnes and for the council.

“With the difficult financial times we face, it’s essential that we find creative ways to continue to deliver services to residents with reduced budgets. It’s impressive to see so many in the local community getting involved in running their library and allowing continued Monday opening at West Barnes library.

“I’d like to thank the West Barnes library friends group and library officers for coming together and making it happen in a very short time. This is very welcome news and as a council we’re very supportive and appreciative of the work put in by the friends group”.

While the Friends Group at West Barnes Library have decided to keep their site open the Friends of Donald Hope have decided not to go ahead with keeping Donald Hope Library open on their proposed day closure.

From 8 July 2011 Donald Hope Library will close an extra day per week on Fridays, but the Friends of Donald Hope will focus their attentions on promoting the library service and providing volunteer support throughout the week.

Notes to editors:

West Barnes Library hours are as follows:
Monday 9.30am – 7pm
Tuesday 9.30am – 7pm
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9.30am – 7pm
Friday 9.30am – 7pm
Saturday 9.30am – 5pm
Sunday Closed