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Camden New Journal - Letters to the Editor
Published: 9 October 2008
Library silence is golden

• I WOULD like to add my voice to those library users who have complained about the rather strange council plans to allow mobile phone use in libraries.
This seems to be the latest in a series of odd decisions made by the Liberal Democrats at the town hall, such as mooting mixed-sex changing rooms for Kentish Town baths last year, “McAdverts” in local parks and cuts to youth clubs in areas of high need.
As someone who has done community work in Kentish Town for many years, I know the local library is used by many different people. For some young people and adult learners, the library is where you go to do your homework because of the overcrowded conditions people suffer at home. For them silence is golden.
If it is a question of engaging young people who don’t use libraries, I wholeheartedly support moves to do this, but this should not be by gimmicks like the ones proposed, which patronises young people. Instead there should be more support for local librarians to develop special programmes for children. But it doesn’t look like the council wants to invest more in this important area.
As a local youth worker I would argue that the council should look again at funding for youth clubs, and re-examine the cuts that they made in universal provision especially in the Kentish Town and Haverstock area.
The government has just given the council £2.5million to refurbish playgrounds in Camden. I hope that they will reflect on their mistakes in this year’s unpopular youth funding settlement, and put more resources in neighbourhoods of high demand.
My message to the council is look again at your strange decisions and refocus on community priorities!
Labour candidate for
Kentish Town ward

When and where to use a mobile

• A LOT of views have been expressed, in your columns and elsewhere, following your report that Camden’s newly-appointed head of libraries is, with councillors’ encouragement, going to change the policy on phone use in libraries.
Indeed, it is very apparent that the “no mobiles” signs that used to adorn library walls have already all disappeared.
Was this vandalism, or were they removed by staff under instructions from above?
But let us not forget that, blessed with a democratic council that consults widely and thoroughly and listens to its electors, it is the constituents who tell the councillors what is wanted.
The councillors merely reflect their constituents’ wishes in their decisions; and the officers (such as the head of libraries) who simply effect, that is manage, those decisions of their elected masters.
That is what they are paid for, by the taxpayers, the constituents.
So any policy changes, in the libraries and elsewhere, merely enact what the people want, and have said they want. Don’t they?
Briary Close, nw3

Bedlam calls

• HOW many more barmy ideas will the Liberal Democrat council come up with?
After proposing mixed changing rooms for Kentish Town baths and suggesting a local councillor can live thousands of miles away, now a councillor wants to allow mobile phones in our local library.
As someone who works in a university, I know how difficult it is to stop students from using their mobiles and allowing others to work. If they come to university with the idea that mobiles are acceptable, I only foresee bedlam.
Kentish Town library is a centre of peace and calm in the midst of our busy community.
It encourages concentration and respect for others. So, please, Lib Dems, think again!
Lady Margaret Road, NW5

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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