LIBRARY CLOSURE DESCENDS INTO FARCE ‘When a whole community is against what a council is trying to do, it’s easy to organise action”
The closure of Waterloo library and its move into a converted church descended into farce at the weekend as removal men working for Lambeth council tried to stock what campaigners call the new ‘phoney’ library – with books from the Minet and Carnegie libraries.
The removal men found their way blocked by angry campaigners.
“It’s become a crazed cat and mouse chase all over the borough” said a Friends of Lambeth Libraries spokeswoman on Saturday.
“First they went to Minet library, in a very deprived area, needlessly closed on April 1. “But local people kept them out.
“So they tried Waterloo library, needlessly closed just yesterday. “Same thing.
“So they went to Carnegie library, needlessly closed on April 1 and then occupied for 10 days by local people, supported by hundreds from all over Lambeth. “Same thing.
“What will they try next? “Whatever it is, campaigners will be ready.”
The protests were organised at the last minute by the Defend the 10 campaign which is working to keep all Lambeth’s 10 libraries.
Defend the 10 says: ‘When a whole community is against what a council is trying to do, it’s easy to organise action.
‘We knew when the phoney library was due to open at Waterloo, so it was not hard to guess when Lambeth would need to collect books from the three libraries it has destroyed.”
News From Crystal Palace have asked both Lambeth council’s press office and Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth’s cabinet member whose responsibilities include libraries, for a comment in response to the statements issued by FOLL on Saturday and on Monday.
If News From Crystal Palace get any comment, we’ll let you know.
WATERLOO LIBRARY,114 Lower Marsh, SW1 7AG
CARNEGIE LIBRARY 188 Herne Hill Road London SE24 0AG
MINET LIBRARY, Knatchbull Rd, SE5 9QY
FOLL SAY: Lambeth had 10 libraries, all booming, with increased members, loans and visits making it the most successful in the whole of England.
Lambeth’s Labour council demanded heavy cuts. The clever library managers said they could make the cuts while still keeping all 10 libraries open. The council did not even consider this offer.
Instead, it has come up with a bizarre plan to close four libraries, and spend millions installing gyms in two of them. The libraries are to be replaced by much smaller phoney libraries, with far less stock and PCs, and no staff at all to speak of.
The Waterloo ‘library’ will be run by a Christian group in a converted church – in a strongly Muslim area.
That, say campaigners, is not a proper library. Lack of staff will seriously disadvantage many service users who need help, and cut the activities for children (etc) to almost nothing.
Worst of all, the plan was never going to make the savings required. And it is being so ineptly carried out, the savings have now shrunk to
Two much-used libraries (Carnegie and Minet) closed on 1 April. Waterloo closed on Friday.
The closure has not saved a penny (buildings, rates, utility bills and staff salaries are all still being paid). And security guards at the buildings are costing two or three times more than running a full library service!
The council still refuses to listen – and still pretends it had no choice but to wreck its library service. Campaigners are determined not to let them get away with it.