By Ross Logan , Reporter
Monday, June 13, 2011
ESSENTIAL library services could be shifted to a warehouse to make way for the Hatfield incinerator.
Hertfordshire County Council wants to split the Central Library Services (CLS) currently located at New Barnfield, where the £200m waste-burning facility is set to be built, across three separate locations.
Under the plans, the Central Reference Library would be moved to WGC Library at Campus West, with central library staff moving to County Hall in Hertford.
But it would also see other services such as the mobile library service, schools library service, distribution and technical support, the county art collection and remaining book collections moved to a commercial warehouse space.
Originally, the county council had planned to relocate the entire CLS to a purpose-built facility in Broadwater Road, WGC, but decided against the move after costing estimates were found to be in access of £8m, even though the site had already been acquired.
But this week Lib Dem county councillor Malcolm Cowan said he would be “fighting for a better solution”.
The WGC councillor said: “While it makes sense not to lavish huge amounts of money on a new central resources library, the current proposals will see a reduction of service, with books, sheet music and playscripts shoved into a warehouse instead of being on display ready to be borrowed.
“I have challenged this and got no sensible answer as to why the county council considers it appropriate to spend money on changes that fail to deal properly with the collections built up over the years by not providing sufficient space, resulting in items that currently are freely available to the public going to be hidden in a warehouse.”
But Cllr David Lloyd, executive member for resources and economic well-being, said: “Books from these collections will be available on request for delivery to libraries around the county.
“By making these changes we will be able to preserve the library services currently provided by the Central Resources Library, but at a reduced cost to taxpayers.”