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About Camden Public Libraries Users Group
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CPLUG was formed in February, 1998 in response to the threat of library closures in Camden. It is an umbrella organisation serving the local users/friends groups of individual libraries. It is non-political.

to reverse the long-term decline in Camden`s libraries and
to improve the service for existing and potential users
to promote the formation of Users /Friends groups of libraries
to carry out research into subjects related to the management of public libraries and to disseminate the results.

Views from the Users Group.........................................July `98
Research Report No.1:
Expenditure & Library Performance.
...........................Sept `98
Research Report No.2:
Assessment of Possible Library Strategies.
.............. Dec `98
Research Report No. 3:
Camden`s Use of CIPFA Statistics
........................... June `99
Seminar Report:
" Do Public Libraries Have a Future?
"....................... Sept `99
Research Report No. 4:
The Performance of Camden Public Libraries
........ Jan '04



Mar. `96 Camden`s Strategic Review of the library service began.

Sep. `97 KPMG consultants` report to Camden. Options included closure of several libraries. Vigorous public opposition, widely reported in the press.

Feb. `98 Inauguration of CPLUG

Mar. `98 KPMG proposals put 'on hold' by Camden.

May `98 Council elections; libraries a key issue

July `98 Start on a 'new review' of Camden libraries; CPLUG given representation on an Officer/member Working Group and non-voting membership of Camden`s Leisure and Community Services Committee.

Sept. `98 CPLUG representative(s) attended all meetings, submitted its views and presented reports, contrib uting to what it understood to be a fresh look at the issues. to

Feb. `99 Despite this, Camden released its Best Value Report on the future of its libraries without allowing any time for CPLUG to comment. Without any public consultation, this report was received by the majority group on the L & C Services Committee. Three libraries were to be closed - Belsize, Chalk Farm and Kilburn.

Mar. `99 This unpopular decision was ratified by the full Council at a packed Meeting attended by many protesters and including a CPLUG deputation.


April `99 With the expertise of lawyers Lovell, White & Durrant (acting pro-bono), CPLUG held a press conference and delivered an Official Complaint to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport.

June `99 Rt. Hon. Chris Smith refused a public inquiry; CPLUG ready to go for Judicial Review. On 22 June at an Extraordinary Council Meeting, twelve Councillors defied the whip and won a reprieve by voting for the closures to be deferred until January 2000 to allow public consultation to take place.

July `99 Public consultation procedure adopted by L & C Services Committee and a steering group set up to oversee it, receive submissions and report back An independent Chair was appointed - namely Tony Travers of the London School of Economics.

Oct. `99 All-day seminar organised by CPLUG held at the London School of Economics-entitled: "Do Public Libraries Have a Future?" Well attended; expert speakers from all over Britain.

Oct. `99 Public consultation; written & oral submissions to steering group. to

Dec. `99 CPLUG Benefit Gig at Jazz Cafe, Camden Town

Jan. `00 Travers Report published - Camden to retain existing number of libraries for at least four years, maintain total number of opening hours with no reduction in book purchases. Original Best Value targets to be met.

Mar. `00 Camden approved replacement of current Cotleigh Road, Kilburn library at a new site in Kilburn High Road. Local opposition to this move supported by CPLUG.

May `00 Culture, Media and Sport Committee to which CPLUG representatives had made oral and written submissions, published. This endorsed CPLUG views.

Sept. `00 CPLUG published & circulated report of Seminar "Do Public Libraries Have A Future?"

Jan. `01 Public meeting in Camden Town Hall on 27 January 'Modernising Local Government' in association with London Amenity Forum & Camden Amenity Forum on how the changes will affect the consultation process and role of community groups



Alan Templeton

Honora Morrissey

Nigel Steward
[email protected]