Library and Information Service review

Mother and young child look at books on the library shelf


As part of wider savings measures affecting every aspect of its work, Waltham Forest Council consulted on the future of its Library and Information Service.

The consultation process lasted 12 weeks and ran from 20 June 2011 until 9 September 2011. The consultation responses were analysed and considered and put forward to the Council's Cabinet in October 2011. Full details of the report that was taken to this Cabinet meeting

At that Cabinet meeting, it was agreed that there would be a new neighbourhood model for libraries with a set of four 'Library Plus' libraries in town centres supported by four 'Library Local' libraries. The 'Library Plus' libraries will be located in North Chingford, Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Leyton. The 'Library Local' libraries will be located in Higham Hill, Wood Street, Hale End and Lea Bridge.

Consultation about the opening hours of 'Library Locals':

It was agreed that each 'Library Local' would be open 30 hours per week. The Council recognises that the opening hours of 'Library Locals' should be tailored to meet the needs of local communities.

The Council held a consultation from 14 November - 12 December 2011 with the local community on the future opening hours of our ‘Library Local’ libraries in Hale End, Wood Street, Lea Bridge and Higham Hill.

All consultation responses will be analysed and considered by the Corporate Director of Residents First in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Leisure Arts and Culture. Your views will be taken into account when making the decision. Once the decision has been reached, new opening hours will be displayed in each 'Library Local' by 23 January 2012.

This consultation is only a starting point in an ongoing process. The Council will look to work with local communities and friends groups to further tailor opening hours of 'Library Locals' over the course of the coming 12 months.

The Council values libraries highly and wants to continue providing the best service possible.

If you have any questions about this survey, you can email us at

South Chingford Library and Harrow Green Library update

South Chingford and Harrow Green libraries closed on Friday 2 December 2011. This move follows the Cabinet decision on 11 October and a Full Council debate on 20 October concerning the future of the library service. The move will allow for a modern, sustainable library service that meets residents’ needs while saving Waltham Forest taxpayers £1m a year.

As part of this decision, the Council agreed to work with parties interested in establishing a community-led library in South Chingford.

Proposals were submitted during the formal consultation process, and the Council's Community Engagement Team will be helping residents plan the development of a community library, manage its delivery and work towards the project’s long-term sustainability.

While no detailed proposals regarding a community-run library in Harrow Green have yet been put forward, the exact same offer will, of course, be open to community-spirited residents living in the area.

No service will operate from either location after 2 December, and existing stock and equipment will be redistributed. The Council is currently considering possible future uses for both buildings, though no final decisions have yet been made.

Residents who were not able to return their books, CDs or DVDs before 2 December can drop them off at any other library location in Waltham Forest.

Residents interested in being involved with a community-run library in either South Chingford or Harrow Green should contact the Council’s Community Engagement Team on 020 8496 3000.

The changes to the Council’s library service will see the libraries in each of the boroughs four town centres - North Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone - operating as Library Plus branches. These will be launched in late January 2012, offering longer opening hours and a wider range of services to residents.

Details of how you can access the nearest libraries to Harrow Green or South Chingford can be found here:

If you are a user of public transport, further information on what concessions may be available to you can be found here:

What if I have some questions or want some further information?

If you have any questions about the Library and Information Service review, you can email us at, or ask any member of staff.