FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A Warning for Our Libraries

Barnet Libraries are suffering major problems with IT. This has meant that the Open+ (unstaffed opening) pilot at Edgware Library has been suspended, inconveniencing the few people who use that site during the additional opening hours, but there are serious implications for the future operation of our libraries

If a similar failure occurs after the Council’s Library proposal is implemented, it will cause an almost complete shutdown of the Library Service.

  • Libraries will be reliant on the Open+ technology for most of their opening hours (up to 90% at some sites). Library users will not be able to enter libraries when the system fails.
  • With Staff cut by 46% there will not be enough Barnet Library workers available to cover for the faulty technology. At present if IT fails staff can still issue and return items manually, answer many enquiries and run non-IT dependent activities and events.

This recent breakdown exposes the over reliance  on IT of the Council plans for our libraries, which seeks to replace experienced, qualified and skilled staff with an unproved impersonal system. It is yet another reason alongside those concerning quality of service and safety to reconsider the unstaffed libraries experiment.