“IT’S A LIBRARY, JIM – BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT”
Reporter’s log, stardate 121.02.015 Dunraven school, London, Planet Earth.
THE DRAMA HALL at Dunraven school has probably never seen a noisier production than the one staged there on Monday night.
Much of the Lambeth council cabinet meeting resembled the proverbial bear garden.
A total of 11 different people from a wide swathe of organisations across the borough of Lambeth would put forward their views on Lambeth council’s ‘consultation’ document Cultural services by 2020 (since renamed Culture 2020) to Lambeth council’s cabinet which would, eventually, decide to ignore them all.
It appears that Lambeth spends two-thirds of their entire budget on adult care provision and child protection. (Why such a huge percentage?) And that’s where Lambeth say their priorities lie.
The meeting was constantly interrupted by noises off. (THUMP THUMP THUMP NO MORE CUTS NO MORE CUTS) from people outside. With all the noises off and the constant interruptions, heckling and catcalls inside many speakers opposing Lambeth’s plans were not able to get their points across fully.
One Labour councillor had clearly lost the plot – or hadn’t read the full script.
Clllr Jim Dixon, member for Herne Hill ward in which the Carnegie library stands, began by thanking people for coming along and giving the benefit of their views…
I’m sitting there thinking that if he feels such hogwash would placate the audience….Well, it didn’t.
He continued: “….people who work so hard in our libraries…amazing spaces…absolutely appreciative of your efforts….(jeers of derision).
He then declared: “We want to maintain and improve our town centre libraries and our neighbourhood ones.”
This prompted one of the biggest and longest chants of the night: “NO MORE JIMS, NO MORE JIMS, NO MORE JIMS….”
(OK so it could have been gyms – but I don’t think so.) We were then treated to further priceless gems from Jim:
“We need to find ways of income so they don’t displace the library from the centre of the building” he added, before referring to “a process whereby the community has started to think about more uses.”
Cllr Dixon then proposed an amendment, which related only to the Carnegie and not the Minet or Tate South Lambeth which stated: “Greenwich Leisure will be instructed to work with people in a shared interest…..” Jeers galore.
Earlier Cllr Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, – introduced to hisses from the audience – said there would be one amendment to the paper page 37 priority three, number 14. Amid chants of “Let them in” it was impossible to hear what this would be, but it transpired it had something to do with toilets.
At the end of the meeting Lambeth council leader Cllr Lib Peck said: “There are lots of points to be taken forward.” They won’t be.
Lambeth council have issued a press release detailing their own version of Monday night’s events. Dated October 13th, it is headed:
Library services in Lambeth protected from the cuts
I haven’t made it up.