Barbican Library invites comments on plans for a new community room

Barbican Library is running two information sessions to explain in more detail plans for a new community room, which I wrote about here.

The first session is on Tuesday October 18th 1-2pm, and the second Tuesday October 25th 7-8pm. More below.

As well as providing space for events, the community room could act as a catalyst for the creation of a community information hub – which I wrote about in previous posts. The room will be created by enclosing the existing soft-seating area in the library, and nearby stacks.

Part of the space that will be enclosed for the community room

The existing library space has been used in the past by the Barbican Centre’s Communities & Neighbourhoods Team for drop-in sessions with residents to discuss information and meeting needs. The information hub was one idea, originally planned for the ground floor of the centre. It was delayed because of changes in the communities team. In addition, there’s a major review of all spaces in the Centre as part of its renewal project.

Perhaps the Library, and the Communities and Neighbourhoods team, could also get together with the team developing ideas for a local community forum. That forms part of the proposals for a Business Improvement District, due to be launched formally in November. More in these posts about the BID and forum – and on the BID website.

The library already displays a lot of useful community information, and consolidating and expanding that would provide the shared knowledge base essential for an effective forum. Maybe the different interests could collaborate, at a time when budgets and staff time are tight.

Details of the community room

Here’s the note circulated by Barbican Library

The proposal is to create a self-contained room in the south-east corner of the library – in the area that currently forms a soft seating area within the arts reference library, overlooking the lakeside. It will be walled in to ensure it is screened from noise in the Barbican foyers and to create a self-contained space within the library.

It will have an entrance from the library, but also a new entrance into the arts centre lobby to allow the room to be used outside library opening hours. Access out of hours will be by arrangement with the Arts Centre.

The room will accommodate up to 90 people, it will have a cupboard with chairs and tables to be used in the room, and there will be an overhead projector fixed adjacent to a lowered ceiling, with four speakers for the soundfield system.

The room will be bookable by individuals or groups through the library. The library will charge but, as with the City’s other libraries, there will be a sliding scale in which residents pay the lowest, local community and charity organisations pay more, and commercial hirers pay the highest rate.

The room will be available for study/quiet reading when there are no bookings. The small amount of stock currently remaining in this area will be reviewed according to our regular stock maintenance regime, and any items that are still relevant will be moved to a new location within the library.

Benefits

  • A purpose-built space for library events and activities, such as talks and groups, which will not be affected by noise from the rest of the Centre
  • An affordable hireable space for residents to hold meetings or activities
  • An increase in activities and events available to library users and the local community
  • Additional quiet study/reading space which will not be disturbed by noise from the rest of the Centre
  • Access out of hours will mean more events and activities can take place when the library is closed, including on Sundays
  • Income generated from the room hire will support the development of high quality services for all library users

If you would like to find out more about the proposed community room, we will be hosting public information session on Tuesday 18th October 1-2pm and Tuesday 25th October 7-8pm.

Information also available on the City of London planning application site: ref 22/00895/LBC

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