Campaigners have continued to meet regularly over the summer to organise ourselves and make sure we continue to challenge the council over their library plans. We continue to press the council to re-open the two closed libraries – Carnegie and Minet – which are costing far more to keep locked than to run and to campaign against the proposed deal with GLL to put unwanted pay-to-use gyms into them. Lambeth council clearly have no regard for the children who have been denied access to the summer reading challenge this year, since they locked the community out of these libraries and shamefully show no signs of being concerned to have been identified as the most unequal borough in London by the Runnymeade trust.
We continue to make the point that by removing trained and professional library staff they turn libraries into little more than book collections with a few computers. Over the summer we’ve seen the loss of a library service at both Waterloo and Upper Norwood libraries. The argument with the council continues and campaigners agreed to monitor the service provided by both these non-libraries. We are also aware that funding for them will only take them up to 2018. There is of course an alternative – the staff-community mutual, proposed by the head of Libraries which would save all 10 libraries.
GLL – the Big Unfriendly Giant
Campaigners have been out and about publicising the role of GLL in putting our libraries at risk with a BFG-themed protest outside Brixton Rec., making a link to this year’s Summer Reading Challenge for children. A deal with the Big Unfriendly Giant, GLL, to put gyms in Carnegie and Minet will mean the end to library services in these buildings.
At our most recent meeting on Thursday 29th September
it was agreed to continue to focus on the proposed GLL deal; to write to Labour Party wards and councillors once again (in the light of the Leadership election result) and to publicise the impact of library closures on the hundreds of children in the borough as well as the ongoing scandal of keeping Carnegie and Minet libraries shut.
April 1st 2016 – theft of Carnegie library!
We have joined with many other campaigns across the borough such as Cressingham Gardens and Central Hill who face demolition and Brixton Arches tenants facing eviction, to organise the Stand up to Lambeth march on Saturday 8th October.
We will also be joining the national demonstration in central London on November 5th for libraries, museums and galleries.