A Leighton Buzzard businesswoman is urging the council to relocate its customer services hub, as she claims it has swallowed up valuable study space in the town library.
Jane Grimwood, who regularly uses Leighton Buzzard Library as a place to work, was surprised when she recently visited its first floor quiet study area and found that it had been “taken over” by a Central Bedfordshire Council customer services point.
Jane claims that those wanting to study have now become “lost to the library”, arguing that not only have around 12 tables been taken away, but that the building is no longer a place where the community can go.
She alleged: “The quiet study tables and chairs were used by freelancers, students, local historians, researchers, teachers and many others giving one to one tuition.
“The one meeting room with study tables is a bookable space, so you never know when it is booked out; I was working there and asked to move because of a meeting.
“There is no longer any freely accessible space to study and learn and now no place to plug in a laptop while sitting at a table - ridiculous.
“The new service point is only open one morning and one afternoon per week, so for all the other days that space is completely wasted!”
A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: “This was part of a larger move of customer services centres into libraries across central Bedfordshire providing better geographical cover for our customers.
“It also maximises the use of our own community buildings, making our libraries more of a central community facility than they already are.
“Customer services moved from Bossard House in Leighton Buzzard into Leighton Buzzard Library. Customer service users and library users were asked for their views and feedback during the trial.
“The study points have now all been relocated around the building so that there is no loss of study space. We welcome feedback and certainly don’t want discourage our customers from using our excellent library facilities. There are no current plans to change the information point.”
However, Jane argued: “What they have lost is the quiet, semi private, study space with connectivity and replaced it with some study tables in the centre of the first floor creating a not quiet, not private, not connected (no power points nearby) study space. They have taken the library back 20 years.”