On Tuesday night Wandsworth’s Mayor, Jane Cooper, joined members of the local community, the Friends of York Gardens Library, councillors, volunteers and others to formally reopen York Gardens Library and Community Centre. Councillor Jonathan Cook, who is responsible for libraries in Wandsworth, spoke about the fact that libraries around the country are facing challenges and change and that the model being used at York Gardens is a new way of doing things that may be an example for others to follow to enable services to continue to operate in the face of significant budget cuts.
Sonia Francis-Mills, the Chair of the Friends of York Gardens Library, thanked those who had been involved in setting up the new structure for running the library which means that it is still open, when otherwise it would have closed earlier in the year. But she also noted the continued disappointment that it was this particular library, of the 11 neighbourhood libraries across Wandsworth, that had been marked out for treatment in this way and that there are still major challenges ahead in ensuring that the library can remain open, especially recruiting volunteers, raising awareness and generating enough income to cover the shortfall left by cuts to the council’s budget.
The library was open for business from Tuesday and it was great to see it packed full of people, particularly teenagers reading and doing their homework. The layout has been changed a little to allow for an additional room that people can hire for functions, training sessions or classes. The children’s library and IT suite remain and the library also continues to have a small selection of books for adults.
What is a Direct Services Organisation? York Gardens has been set up as a Direct Services Organisation and we’ve been trying to work out what it means over the past few months. Here’s how it has been defined: As a Direct Services Organisation, YGLCC operates as an ‘arms length’ part of Wandsworth Council. The DSO is still accountable to the Council for approval of its activities and the setting of its targets, fees and charges. The Council still provides the revenue budget for which officers are responsible and accountable. The budget – income and expenditure – is ringfenced to the DSO and is not used to sustain other Council budgets or activities.
We have added a page to this website, which you can get to from the link ‘On Offer at YLGCC’ at the top right of this page, which has details about the library opening times and room hire. If you want any more information at all please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org