Hackney Council is asking for chapter and verse from residents on the state of the borough’s libraries, and how they can be improved.
The newly launched ‘Our Libraries’ conversation wants participants to explain how they used libraries prior to the pandemic and what the institutions could offer in future, including how they can better serve the community in an increasingly digitised world.
Hackney is currently home to seven operating libraries and an e-library, with Woodberry Down library currently closed.
Town Hall culture chief Cllr Guy Nicholson, who launched the discussion, said: “The purpose of the consultation is not to close a library, but to ensure that our libraries remain central to our daily lives and that we better understand the variety of services you would like to see your local library provide.
“You might think that your local library could develop stronger links with community groups, or with arts, cultural and heritage-led activities. It may be a place to provide quiet workspaces, more free wifi or access to computers.
“You might want to find more council services on offer, more books on offer or more homework spaces and learning opportunities. Our objective is to place our libraries at the heart of Hackney’s community and cultural life.”
He added: “For some, visiting the local library helps tackle loneliness and social isolation, for others they are meeting places to meet friends or like-minded neighbours.
“But others pass by their local library reassured by its presence but never actually go in to use it, and there are others who are completely ambivalent about the need for a library and don’t intend to ever visit.”
“Now it’s your turn to tell the Mayor and the Council what you would like to see happening in your local library and just as importantly, what you don’t need,” he explained.
“Get in touch with your thoughts and ideas and let’s together, build a thriving future for ‘Our Libraries’.”
To take part in the conversation, visit the Our Libraries engagement page. To request assistance or an accessible version of the survey, or one in a different language, call 020 8356 6199.