Islington council denies planning huge cutbacks to its library service

The town hall’s libraries chief has said predictions of staff redundancies, library buildings being sold and a �30,000 in cuts in funds for new books must be based on figures worked out “on the back of an envelope”.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for planning, regeneration and transport, has pledged that there will be no change in the book budget and no library buildings sold as the council looks to make �650,000 in savings.

He refused to rule out redundancies, but rubbished the quoted 10 per cent job losses among library staff.

He said: “I have no idea where these figures came from. It’s like someone has done them out on the back of an envelope.

“Cuts are inevitable as we have to make �100million in savings, but while we are cutting an average of 30 per cent across the council, the library service will only be cut by 10 per cent.”

Proposed cost-saving measures include introducing self-service machines, the twinning of libraries which will open on different days, an increase in fines and moving CD and DVD loans to Central Library.

The mobile library will be merged with that of neighbouring Camden, but Cllr Convery said there would be no reduction in service.

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He said: “It will save about �30,000 and will make the same number of visits.

“Some of the twinned libraries will be open less hours,” Cllr Convery added.

Central Library, in Holloway Road, and Finsbury Library, in Rosebury Avenues, will not change their hours.

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “This is blatant closure by the back door. On any given day, there will be less library services available in Islington.”