At the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding ("CELS") Committee on 15 November 2017, Barnet Councillors were unable to deny that the provision of security guards at unstaffed libraries will cost over £1 million a year. Meanwhile the trained library staff they replaced cost less than £1.6 million a year.
The Council claims the security guards are "offering assistance to residents where required". But they are not trained on library equipment, they can't give out pin codes, they are not there to provide customer service. Their main role in practice seems to be to keep out members of the public who don't have a pin code and are not supposed to enter the library.
The Council claims this is a transition phase and the guards and are there to "provide a reassuring presence whilst residents become familiar with unstaffed opening". But as yet, nobody on the Council knows when the transition will end.
A crucial fact that wasn't mentioned at the meeting is that, without the security guards, the toilets and lifts will close. Then even more people will be excluded from unstaffed libraries.
With children locked out and many users unable to access unstaffed libraries even with security guards, we call on the Council to let the staff back in!