In the coming years, Eindhoven’s Municipality must invest millions to make the city’s library future-proof again.
The money should primarily go to setting up six neighbourhood libraries. This is the opinion of a group of experts that researched the library on behalf of the city council.
At the end of last year, Eindhoven Library sounded the alarm. According to the management, the institution is now receiving too little money to carry out its tasks properly. Besides lending out books, these tasks include tackling low literacy and preventing loneliness.
More costs, less subsidy
According to the library, many costs have been incurred in recent years, and subsidy budgets have been cut. The management, therefore, felt compelled to cut back on staff and activities.
The city council took up the cry for help and commissioned an independent investigation. Four experts, led by former Councillor Mary Fiers, studied the prospects of the Eindhoven Library.
An important proposal of the four experts is to set up six community libraries and the Witte Dame’s central branch. The first two should start next year, the other four should follow. According to the inquiry committee, these branches can help combat low literacy and loneliness and increase the digital skills of residents.
The council should set aside €300,000 each year for each branch. According to the experts, such a neighbourhood library shouldn’t become the same as the old branch. The committee is more interested in a place where organisations and residents from the district are closely involved.
A place that’s accessible to everyone and where diverse target groups come together to gain knowledge, information or inspiration. Together, the organisations should work on a substantive programme that also involves young people.
Furthermore, the experts want the Eindhoven Library and the city council to work together with companies and knowledge institutions on an innovation agenda. “The ever-changing world asks for new ideas and entrepreneurship. This role is tailor-made for the library,” the committee writes.
Set aside more money
The central government has already set aside €500,000 for nine libraries in the Brainport Region, among other things, to focus extra on innovation. According to the committee, the municipality should set aside another €200,000 for this purpose.
Furthermore, the experts believe that a youth agenda should be developed. Summa College, Fontys and TU/e should play a role in this. ‘The library is almost invisible to young people between the ages of 12 and 25,” the committee says.
“This requires targeted action.” To get this off the ground, the experts think that the city council should reserve at least €200,000 for this.
Translated by: Bob