Chiswick Library – what’s good about it and what needs to be improved?

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee (OSC) has just started reviewing the borough’s library services. Two Turnham Green ward councillors – Ron Mushiso and Joanna Biddolph – are members of OSC and would like Chiswick residents’ views on the library service.

Do you use the library regularly or occasionally and, if so, what’s good about it and what needs to be improved?  We are looking at every aspect of it including:

  • what you can find on the shelves and what isn’t there and should be;
  • events that take place or could be part of the library service;
  • what it’s like to study there – there are always several students keen for the door to open on a Saturday morning and how much I applaud them for their diligence;
  • the reference library;
  • the rooms for hire;
  • the computers and WiFi service;
  • services that are available (such as photocopying) or aren’t and should be; and
  • anything else you would like to comment on.

If you don’t use the library:

  • what puts you off doing so; and
  • what would bring you in to use its services?

Very high on the list for me, Jo, is the state of the loo.  If we want to encourage people to use our libraries – and of course we do – we must provide them with the basics while they are there. Young children, pregnant women, men of a certain age, students spending hours studying, archivists and historians doing time-consuming research, newspaper browsers … any of us wanting to stay awhile (and shouldn’t we want to do that?) might need to use the loo.

After a long Saturday surgery it’s a given that I’ll need it. My experience has so far been this. First, I have to ask for the key. What I find behind that locked door is not what we should offer residents. No loo paper. No soap. Nothing with which to dry hands. The room (two interconnected spaces) is far from appropriate – grubby, tired, untidy. I raised this in the OSC meeting and was promised it will be looked into. There is the longer term issue of it needing a serious refresh (as does the library generally) but let’s at least make it usable and hygienic.

What are your bugbears – or aspects that you particularly enjoy? Please let us know by emailing:

joanna.biddolph@hounslow.gov.uk or ron.mushiso@hounslow.gov.uk

We would very much like to have your views.

And if you’d like to read the presentation, to OSC, on the library service across the borough, it’s here.