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Haringey Council says it is ‘not going to be closing our libraries’

Local councillors previewed a refurbishment of Highgate Library last week, which had been closed since February 2023

Haringey Council has commented that it is “not going to be closing our libraries”, after councillors previewed a refurbishment of Highgate Library last week.

Highgate Library has been closed since 9th February 2023 while undergoing refurbishment.

Emily Arkell, cabinet member for culture, communities and leisure, said: “My message has been clear from the start, we are not going to be closing our libraries.

“The re-opening of Highgate Library is a prime example of the investment we have made and the benefits it will bring for our residents […]

“I’m particularly pleased that the significant enhancements include making the library fit for the future with a new lift and accessible toilets, alongside new furniture and an improved layout and lighting.”

The refurbishment includes a new lift and accessible toilet; bespoke lighting and new furniture; interior redecoration; and a reconfigured floorplan.

Over a four-year period, the council has been investing over £4.9million in libraries, including Highgate Library and Muswell Hill Library, Alexandra Park Library, Coombes Croft Library, Hornsey Library and Stroud Green and Harringay Library.

Muswell Hill Library remains closed, but Highgate Library has reopened.

The preview of the refurbishment last week, however, follows news of looming cuts to the council’s spending on libraries.

Arkell added: “We value libraries just as much as our residents do, which is why we have invested over £4.9m over the last four years into them so they can thrive and are safeguarded for future generations.

“We will continue to work with our residents, library staff and the associated Friends groups to ensure we have high quality, successful libraries here in our borough.”

Lib Dem councillor Scott Emery commented: “The library at Highgate is such an important community space. Whether that’s for learning, events or the use of technology facilities.

“Labour’s proposed cuts, reducing hours and removing staff, are senseless, and provide a worrying backdrop to the reopening. Lib Dems in Haringey will continue to fight against the cuts to Highgate Library and other libraries across the borough.”