On Saturday 30th April more than 100 Defendthe10 protestors met at the Upper Norwood Joint Library in Crystal Palace. We talked to and recieved support from many local library users and other residents.
Lambeth Council were due to remove staff from Upper Norwood Library in Crystal Palace on May 1st as part of the ‘Culture2020’ changes to Lambeth’s library services that includes the plans to turn Minet and Carnegie libraries, as well as the now reprieved Tate South Lambeth Library, into gyms with an unstaffed ‘community lounge’ with an unspecified number of books. The building would be handed over to the Upper Norwood Library Trust. The council makde clear that its joing funding with Croydon of £170,000 to the Trust for 2 years was not to run a library service but to provide a ‘community hub’ with no library staff. Under major pressure from protestors wthis plan was amended at last minute, in the week beginning 25th April. Implementation has now been delayed until July 1st and they’ve offered one member of staff to the Library for a ‘transitional period’.
It is great the Upper Norwood library users will have an extra 2 months of their library, but one staff member simply cannot replace the service deliverd by the five members of staff who currently work at the Library so diligently.
Our ‘Defend the 10’campaign is based on the idea that Lambeth needs 10 properly staffed libraries in order to deliver a proper service to the whole borough and resists the idea that unstaffed spaces can be considered libraries. On Saturday 30th April we showed once again how much the library service is a valued and vital part of our communities.
Pictures from 30th April protest meeting at Upper Norwood Joint Library by Vivienne Lewis