So it's both good news and bad news.
Since the installation of the new self-service kiosks that have been slowly replacing staff members in Libraries across westminster, the council has Incurred an overspend of £200k. In a bid to cover this one off debt, the heads of WCC planned to close Charing cross library and Westminster music library in Victoria street and move some of the services and staff from both locations onto one floor of the Westminster Reference Library building. Funds would be generated from the selling of the Charing Cross Library building and a major reduction of staff members.
This was to be an immense project which would mean major building works on all sites to make Charing Cross commercially sellable and allow Westminster Reference library to facilitate some lending services.
Building works on Charing Cross were necessary to comply with certain rules that restricted the use of the building to educational purposes only and therefore reduced its commercial appeal. All building works had to be completed either before or after the Olympics however the financial department has now determined that the project is too expensive to pursue within the next four years and the building will continue to provide a full service as they are now.
So where's the bad news? Well Westminster libraries still has to find a saving of £40k this financial year (just under the value of a bonus for a councillor or a senior execs working for Westminster) and another £160k in 2012/13 (which we fear could mean the closure of another library).
It's important to note that this is a one-off overspend and that any permanent measures to resolve this debt would be disproportionate, unnecessary and excessive so we'll be keeping an eye out for how this develops.
Watch this space for updates.