For 34 years Wokingham Borough Council has operated a dual use library on the Maiden Erlegh School site to provide access to library services for local residents and school pupils.
This longstanding arrangement between the council and the school has always included the ability for either organisation to end the lease with four months’ notice should either party have a reason to end the service on this site.
Maiden Erlegh School has told Wokingham Borough Council that it wishes to terminate the lease to operate the library from the school and has suggested that the library close and vacate the site from the end of the summer school term.
Despite the historic success and value of the Maiden Erlegh Library to the local community, the school now feels that the space in its site would be better utilised by being focused on the education of its pupils.
A spokesperson for the school said: “In a school that educates nearly 1800 students each day where space is at a premium, the school feels that the space currently occupied by the library can be utilised more appropriately to improve further the outcomes of the students at our school.
Like most schools, increasingly we need to provide for a wider range of emotional wellbeing and behavioural needs. In addition to providing some additional administrative facilities, this space will allow us to strengthen our inclusion work further, thereby remaining true to our values of equality and inclusion.
We are determined that all students have fair access to our high quality curriculum and equal chances to achieve success. The extra space provided will better enable us to do this.”
Cllr Norman Jorgensen, Lead Executive Member for Environment including Libraries said: “Like many people, I will be sad to see the School close this popular local library and end the successful relationship between the Council and the School. In recent years Wokingham Borough Council has been very successful in bucking the national trend of declining library usage and has increased the opening times and access to library services across the borough.
"The Council will now review its options for the provision of library services to the residents in the area. I encourage users of the Maiden Erlegh library to visit either the Lower Earley or Woodley Library which are both only a couple of miles away."
Customers who do choose to use neighbouring libraries at Lower Earley or Woodley will find the same range of services available as they are used to. They will also benefit from longer opening hours, and can save time when visiting by using our self-serve kiosks. For those customers wishing to access library services from the comfort of their own home there are also a range of online services. We provide free downloadable ebooks, electronic magazines, and audio books, available to library customers via our website at www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries