Save Aylesbury Study Centre and Reference Library
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The Friends of Aylesbury Study Centre and Library oppose the closing of the Aylesbury Study Centre and Reference Library and amalgamating them with Aylesbury Lending Library.
Buckinghamshire has a very good County Council and we understand that they are under great financial pressure, but the Aylesbury Study Centre is core to the educational success of people living in the Aylesbury area.
Many teenagers and adults find that their home environment is not conducive to effective study, especially at exam time. The existing Study Centre offers a quiet and studious atmosphere with an excellent reference library. It also has abundant natural light which research has shown is important for effective study.
The Friends of Aylesbury Study Centre and Library have the following concerns:
1. There was no consultation with users about whether or not the existing Study Centre should be closed.
2. There was no public meeting about whether or not the existing Study Centre should be closed.
3. The current consultation is only about the layout of the proposed amalgamated Study Centre and Library, not the closure of the Study Centre.
4. If the Study Centre is closed and amalgamated with the Lending Library the area that both currently enjoy will be reduced by approximately 50%. Aylesbury is due to double in size over the next 25 years. Surely we should be expanding these facilities not halving them. We also need longer opening hours including Sunday opening as is the case in High Wycombe.
5. The Study Centre and library in High Wycombe (also administered and financed by Buckinghamshire County Council) is a wonderful state of the art facility with excellent natural light and study facilities. It also has a first class reference library and lending library. If the current plans go ahead Aylesbury will be the poor relation of High Wycombe. Aylesbury is the County Town and is due to expand far more than High Wycombe in the coming years.
6. We understand that Aylesbury Reference Library which is currently an integral part of the Study Centre will be greatly reduced. Books are already being sold off in the Study Centre. The Reference Library is an essential resource for the Aylesbury area and its closure/reduction will have a very negative impact.
7. The proposals for the new amalgamated facility will have a study area with no natural light and glass walls, a children’s area, the lending library, a careers service, facilities for public information and IT support for the community, all in the same space. This simply won’t work. Whilst we very much wish to encourage children to use libraries, children playing and adult study simply cannot co-exist in the same space.
8. The existing Study Centre can accommodate 60 people with chairs, tables and electric power points. It is often the case that every seat is taken particularly around exam times. The new proposals as drafted show seats in the study area of approximately half that number.
9. According to BCC the cost of creating a new amalgamated Study Centre and Library will cost £360,000 and will save the Council £80,000 per year. That means it will take around 5 years to break even. In five years the Buckinghamshire local government structure will almost certainly be very different with some kind of combined council for the area.
10. The staff who currently work in the Study Centre/Reference Library and the Lending Library are some of the most helpful and knowledgable library staff in the country. With the amalgamation plans there is bound to be staff reductions which we do not want to see. We wish to give Study Centre and Library staff our full support.
11. With Brexit looming Britain will have to raise its game if it wishes to compete with the rest of the world. It will therefore be more important than ever to offer people better study and educational facilities. To halve them sends out completely the wrong message.
We would ask the Buckinghamshire County Council to do the following:
1. To reconsider or cancel the Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet decision of 24th July 2017 and keep the existing Study Centre open as at present, but with longer opening hours.
2. To have a public consultation on any major changes such as closing the Study Centre.
3. To call a public meeting so that the public can express their views on any major changes such as closing the Study Centre.
If you care, please sign this petition and give us your support. Many thanks.
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