Merton Libraries Make Online Progress

Tories say wi-fi access should have come sooner

Merton's libraries are now available on a 24-hour basis after the launch of new technology initiatives.

It means customers can now access their reading material round the clock through a range of e-books, e-encyclopaedias and e-magazines that can be viewed on e-readers, phones and computers.

There are more than 20,000 available titles that can be borrowed with the added benefit of never having to incur any library fines. There is also access to a range of e-encyclopaedias and study materials available for a range of different interests and levels.

All library computers will be upgraded by May, and wi-fi will also be introduced in the "coming months" - a move which the Conservative opposition should have been done sooner.

They say residents using West Barnes, Raynes Park and Donald Hope libraries will have to wait until at least March for wi-fi access, although it is now available in other libraries.

Councillor Samantha George, the Conservatives' Culture and Libraries Spokesman, said: "This is a step forward in our campaign to make Merton's libraries attractive places for residents to visit. wi-fi is commonplace in many cafes, schools and other public buildings and residents understandably expect to be able to use it when they go to their local library too.

"That we will soon have free wi-fi is great news – it's just a shame it's taken three years to deliver. Labour could have done this ages ago; instead they spent their first year considering how to close libraries rather than how to invest in them."

But Cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Not only have our libraries managed to stay open in these difficult times, they are going the extra mile to meet the needs of their customers and make the library experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible. Merton’s libraries are considered to be amongst the best in London as they are very well run and really provide a great service to the local community with the help of our fantastic army of volunteers."

February 17, 2013