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Enfield Council has withdrawn its proposal to completely cease providing drop-in access to its Local Studies Centre at the Dugdale Centre and to drastically scale back the Enfield Museum, which is also located at the Dugdale Centre.  There will, however, still be cutbacks, though their scope is unclear.

just married exhibition"Just Married" might have been the last special exhibition at the Enfield Museum under the original proposalsThis rethink, announced on the Council website earlier today, is a response to the views of "hundreds" of people who participated in the consultation about the future of the services.  However, under the "minor changes" that are now planned drop-in access to the Local Studies Centre will be cut back to three days a week (Tuesday to Thursday) and one-to-one professional assistance will be by appointment only.

Museum displays will continue to be located on both the ground and first floors.  Campaigners against the planned cuts had expressed fears that restricting the museum to the first floor only would have meant the end of special exhibitions, such as the current "Just Married" - an exhibition celebrating local wedding traditions over the past century and a half.

The Council is still planning to digitise some of the archive holdings and make them available online and says that staff will be doing this on days when the drop-in service is unavailable.

The announcement makes no mention of changes to staffing, but as this is a cost-cutting exercise there will almost certainly be a reduction in staff numbers and in particular in the employment of more expensive professional specialists.  Presumably, as more material gradually becomes available on the web the Council may take the opportunity to further cut back staffing and services at the Dugdale.

At least one observer has suggested that this apparent compromise was what the Council had in mind all along:  "Straight from the politician’s handbook.  Propose something draconian and hope that everyone is happy when something semi-draconian is decided upon instead."

The text of the announcement is shown in the box below.

Open access to Local Studies and Museum Service continues

Published Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Enfield Council has announced minor changes to the way its Local Studies and Museum service will operate following a public consultation on the future of the service.

The museum spaces in the ground and first floor of the Dugdale Centre will be continued as will drop in access to the Local Studies Centre for people not requiring one to one support from staff.

A new appointments service will be introduced for people who require professional support from a local studies officer while the Local Studies Centre will be closed to the public on Mondays and Fridays to enable staff to increase the amount of stock which is available digitally

Enfield Council took the decision after listening to the hundreds of people who participated in a consultation on the future of the service.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection, Cllr Ayfer Orhan, said: “I am delighted to announce that we will be continuing the Local Studies Centre and providing enhanced digital services as well. Taken together the new service will be able to meet customers’ needs now and in the future whilst managing within the very limited resources made available to us.”

Source:  Enfield Council website

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