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Ilford library refurb gets thumbs up, despite 5 month closure

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 December 2011

Automatic self-service machines like this one at Gants Hill Library being used by David Elias, 80, with librarian Christine Thompson, will be installed at Central Library

Automatic self-service machines like this one at Gants Hill Library being used by David Elias, 80, with librarian Christine Thompson, will be installed at Central Library

Archant

The councillor in charge of leisure and culture in Redbridge has welcomed the decision to spend £500,000 renovating Ilford’s figurehead library.

Her cabinet colleagues unanimously voted through the plans which will see Central Library, Clements Road, closed for five months from January for a major refurbishment.

Among the changes will be the installation of self-service machines for withdrawing, renewing and returning books, a modern café in the ground floor lobby and the merging of the local studies library with the general reference library.

Cabinet member Cllr Sue Nolan said: “I am absolutely delighted that we are able to improve the library.

“It is never a good time to do these things, but all our other libraries will still be open while the work takes place and in Ilford people can still take books out.

“There is no other way to make such wonderful improvements.”

The council had previously agreed to cut £630,000 from the libraries budget by April 2013 and the library changes will mean fewer staff are employed to deal with customers.

But the council told the Recorder it has avoided redundancies by not replacing staff who have left naturally.

The library will close on January 14 and reopen after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in May, though a “skeleton” lending service will continue in the building.

Redbridge Museum along with the York and Gloucester Rooms – also within the building – will be largely unaffected.

As well as the reconfiguring seating and book areas, the building will receive new soft furnishings and be completely redecorated.

Disabled toilets will be installed on the ground floor thanks to a grant from the Disability Access Fund.

Central Library was opened in 1986 by the Duke of Gloucester.

It is the busiest library in London and provides a hub for all other libraries in Redbridge, as well as office space for the libraries and cultural services management teams.


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