Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Its not just Margate that has to endure Kent councils Gateway nightmare, the gentile folk of Tenterden have just had a rude awakening, with the opening of one of these establishments.

Those of us here in Margate are not entirely impressed with Kent's attempts to merge a Library with council services sorting out housing matters and the like, to produce a unique ambiance, rarely associated with reading.

Still it looks as thought the worst aspects of Margates Gateway have been enhanced by inclusion of a post office to the mix council services etc.

Anyway the following extract from KM groups KentOnline site will give you a flavour of this Kent's latest mutant Library, the full story can be found here.

"Jo Masters of Smallhythe, described the move of the library from the Pebbles site as losing “a little oasis of peace”.

She added: “We now have toys for the screaming kids to play with while their mothers are in the queue at the post office.”

Mrs H. R. Martin contacted the Express to say: “Whoever thought that it would be acceptable to mix readers trying to select books with pedestrians with or without wheelchairs, walking sticks, children, shopping bags, baskets and buggies et al en route to the post office counter without the annoyance and distress that it has inevitably caused?

“Not only is there competition for the shared space, but the return journey from the post office area also takes customers through the main body of the library, adding to the confusion. The library space feels cramped and uninviting with the children’s area not ideally placed, to the detriment of children and adults.”

Elizabeth Benies of Appledore said: “It was a sad day for book-lovers to find that Tenterden’s new library had become an unappealing combination of tourist office, council office, computer centre, playschool and post office along with some of the original books."

If Kent's Gateway "concept" is alien to you might like to check out Kent councils info on this "vision" from Peter Gilroy "Kent councils top employee", its worth a read if only to encounter words and phrases like "transactional services" multi-agency, "cross-sector solutions" "front office services" , "holistic customer experience", "destination brand".

I think a library should be separate from other services, still maybe this is a transitional situation until such time as Kent can phase out the Library service entirely, and maybe they've given the game away by including the strap line "The future is retail" , perhaps at some time in the future we will find Waterstone or W H Smiths instead, although I can't see that either of those would appreciate a line of customers for housing benefit, or postal services snaking through the bookshelves.


  1. So far Ramsgate Library has resisted this conversion into an all-singing all-dancing community hub - it opened yesterday and i think it is is great - do go and have a look if you haven't already had the chance

  2. So far Ramsgate Library has resisted this conversion into an all-singing all-dancing community hub - it opened yesterday and i think it is is great - do go and have a look if you haven't already had the chance

  3. Nice to see you back in the world of the posting Tony.

    Word on the street is that we managed to miss a Thanet Gateway Desk by the skin of our teeth. What remains to be seen is if we can avoid having a library trying to compete with EMI and Blockbuster and persuade KCC arts and libraries service that what we want is mostly books, with the peace and quiet to read them.

  4. The fat lady hasn't sung yet Michael.

    I visited Ramsgate's new place and it seems obvious to me that library users in Margate have paid the price for the showpiece in the millionaires playground.

  5. The Gateways are just a way of trying to get KCC presence a foothold in the town centres. Not many people know what KCC are responsible for and I sometimes wonder whether KCC do with projects like Health Watch which is a duplication of the government's LINK scheme. Speaking of Health Watch, it was reported in Kent Today at the weekend that £150,000 had been spent so far in the first 4 months and 216 calls had been received. Only 70% where complaints. You can work out the cost per call and whether it's value for our money.

  6. Rumour has it that WH Smiths will close in Margate in March. This leaves Margate with a library that is the pits and the only place to get books, the town will suffer as there little on offer at the current library!!

  7. Where does that information come from then?I spoke to the manager of WH Smiths last week and he said they were doing very well...

  8. KCC already had a foothold in Margate before Gateway. It was called a library. Now it is a nightmare.