CMLNPN Chair, Kamal Shah and Network Manager, Chris Neath joined Garden Suburb Library this month to celebrate their 10th Anniversary operating as a community library.

On 17 April 2012 the Market Place library re-opened its doors as a Community Library which was just over a year after the London Borough of Barnet announced its closure as part of a Borough wide Strategic Library Review. The library had been in its current location for over 60 years serving generations of Suburb local residents.

Following a very successful campaign, which resulted in a residents’ petition of 2547 names which Barnet could not ignore, and because the petition had achieved over 2,000 signatures, the action group were given the opportunity to present their case to the Barnet Council ‘Overview and Scrutiny’ committee at the Town Hall, which resulted in the Council asking if there was a volunteer proposal.

A volunteer-led library proposal was outlined to Barnet – The final deal included Barnet gifting the existing furniture and book stock to the new Community Library. They provided an annual grant of £10,000 to cover the purchase of books and overheads and they pay the rent of the shop, also purchasing four new computers for the library plus a standalone library management system.

With over 3,400 registered users we have been a great community success, not only lending books but also with weekly and one-off children’s activities, a monthly book club and regular author talks. We look forward to seeing continued success from the team at Garden Suburb Community Library and wish them all the best for their next 10 years!