Highgate library was purpose built in 1902. It is located at the top of Shepherds Hill near the tube station in a predominantly residential area off the Archway road. The library is not visible from the main Archway Road and therefore does not reap the benefits of that high footfall.
The library offers a range of core library services on the ground floor which include books for adults and children, DVDs, newspapers and public access computers. There is a range of activities for children, especially under 5s. The service that is currently provided is determined by the configuration of the space which has limited flexibility. For example, there are three meeting rooms on the first floor which are not fully accessible.
Over recent years library usage has declined nationally and Highgate library is no exception. Whilst the library is held with great affection by those that use it, the usage figures are low in comparison to the other branches in Haringey with the same population levels and has the lowest visitor numbers of all six branch libraries in the borough.
Haringey is one of the few local authorities in the country that has continued to protect and improve its libraries. The Council remains fully committed to retaining a full library service across the borough and welcomes opportunities such as this for Highgate. The Jacksons Lane proposal will allow for the library services to be improved by enhancing the learning and cultural offer and secure a purpose built 21st Century library for another 100 years as it did in 1902.
In the context of the reduction in local government funding over the last ten years, it is crucial that the Council to explore and consider all opportunities that are presented, especially those that have the potential to safe guard the service into the future.