Bexley library to bring in membership fees

Bexley library to bring in membership fees

A library in Bexley is to introduce a paid membership system once it leaves council control this spring.

Charity Greener Bexley will shortly take over management of Bexley Village Library, running it independently and saving the council around £40,000 a year, according to a local press report.

The library will continue to keep free membership but users will also be able to pay for extra benefits through memberships of £24 or £75 a year.

Local library user David Hinds said that a two-tier system was being introduced. "It's a very affluent area and we pay our council tax. I think we deserve these services," he said. "I don't see why we should have to pay for them or be stigmatised if we don't pay for them." 

Council leader Teresa O'Neill said the council would be working closely with the charity "to ensure residents receive the same high quality service."

With £24 membership, library users can borrow a higher number of books, keep them for an unlimited time and have a free period of use on the library computers. A £75 "gold" membership makes a donation to the running costs of the library, to be invested in new library stock.