Re: Update on Hale End (Highams Park) Library

Please find below an update on Hale End Library from Janet Charlesworth, Deputy Chair HPPG
At the end of July HPPG sent the Council an outline strategy document with suggestions as to how the community can work with the Council to improve usage of library facilities. A summary copy of the report can be viewed by clicking on this link:  1-summary-of-strategy-for-enhanced-community-use-of-hale-end-library . After you have read the summary, we would welcome any additional suggestions or ideas you may have; please email any suggestions to

Members of HPPG have subsequently met twice with the Council’s libraries manager (once in September and once in October) to find out how the community can work with the Council to implement this strategy and how the Council will assess usage. Broadly speaking, their benchmarks are quite simple and relate to increased membership of the library, higher footfall and greater use of the services it offers, such as book borrowing, computer/internet use and more use of the community rooms that are available for hire.

In short, if we want to keep our library in its existing building, we have to prove that the building is in the right place by pushing up membership and usage levels. The Council measures such levels on a monthly basis by reference to the previous year i.e. September 2016 against September 2015 and, as a first step, we would like to address the most obvious benchmark which is increased membership of the library.

So, if you are not a member of the library, please pop in and join up as soon as you can. This is a simple process but you will need proof of identity/address such as a utility bill (less than three months old), or your passport, or driving licence.

It seems that many families only have one membership between them. If you are already a member but your partner and/or children are not members, please encourage them to sign up as well and to actively use their membership.

It may be that you joined the library a long time ago and think you are still a member, however, if you haven’t used the library for some time, your membership may have expired, so please pop in the library and check. There are visitor counters on the door so just the act of going into the library to join up or check your membership will help with the usage statistics.
Opening Times:

  • Monday, closed
  • Tuesday, 10am-6pm
  • Wednesday, 10am-6pm
  • Thursday, closed
  • Friday, 10am-6pm
  • Saturday, 10am-4pm
  • Sunday, closed

Once you’ve signed up, you may be surprised to find out that the library does not just lend books; we have included details of its many other services at the bottom of this update . Just one example of what the library can offer is If you want to research your ancestors but don’t want to pay a subscription, you can access the service for free on the library computers, so please have a look at the information at the bottom of this message and see what else may be of interest to you.

A couple of other things have been going on behind the scenes.

  1. HPPG applied for the building to be made an Asset of Community Value in August and this was approved by the Council in September. This means that, if the Council decide to sell the building, we have to be notified and will then have six months to raise money to purchase the building at market price  If nothing else, it gives us six months warning of the Council’s intent. An explanatory note about assets of community value and other steps that communities can take to protect community assets can be viewed by clicking on this link 2-information-about-assets-of-community-value .
  2. Tesco applied for a change of use of class from A1 retail use to flexible use class (including D2 community use) for the building in Signal Walk that the Council proposed as an alternative site for the library. HPPG and many local residents objected to the application and despite an eloquent speech by Gill Poulter the application was approved at the planning committee meeting on 4th October. This does not necessarily mean that the library will be moved to Signal Walk but it has opened the door should the Council decide to relocate the library. We all need to make sure we make better use of the existing library building!

We will be meeting the libraries manager again on 9th November and will send you an update after the meeting. Let’s hope that after this message she reports a large spike in the number of members.


There may be more to library services than you think!  Read on, to find out more or to discover information about the library’s community rooms for hire if you run a group.


Take advantage of the library’s free Wifi in comfortable surroundings on your laptop, tablet or phone.


You need to be a library member with a ticket number and pin number to access these services.  If you are not already a member, you can get a ticket and pin online or at the library reception desk.

  • Reservations and renewals
  • Book a library PC
  • Search the Library Catalogue
  • Online Information Resources – great for research or homework
  • Ebooks and AudioBooks
  • Online Newspapers and Magazines (some hard copies free to read in the library)
  • Ancestry UK and Find My Past Websites – FREE! but you need to access them in the library
  • Book Guides and Oxford Music
  • Business and Legal Information
  • Online Courses and Language Courses
  • Home Library Service for the housebound

More details of each of these are can be viewed by clicking on this link 3-online-library-services

They can also be accessed via:


There are two generously sized rooms available for community use above the library, both in and out of library opening hours.  Groups can meet here, events be held or classes can be run on either a regular or one-off basis.  For more information, availability and current charges, speak to staff at the reception desk, or go to or email


See the section at the end of the online services document referred to above for information on this service.


The library is happy to accept donations of books as long as they are in good condition.  Donations received at Highams Park library are sent to the libraries’ stock manager, based centrally in Waltham Forest, for assessment and distribution.


Find out about events in all the libraries in the borough, including ours, in the booklet Enjoy Life (available from the library) or on the website


Library tickets are free!  Why not encourage each member of your family to have their own ticket?  Register at the reception desk or via the online website: