(Photo credit: Peter Lewin)
Lambeth library defenders turned out in force on Saturday (19 March) when Sadiq Khan visited Camberwell library in Southwark.
Anti-closure posters dominated the scene.
Campaigners have long pointed out that Labour Southwark chooses to invest in libraries as a core public service. Yet Labour Lambeth is spending millions on destroying them.
Khan’s campaign to be London’s mayor, they argue, will be damaged by the sight of library closures all over Lambeth – just as the fight starts to hot up on April 1.
“It’s sad to rain on Sadiq’s parade – but we have no choice,” says Laura Swaffield, who chairs Friends of Lambeth Libraries (FOLL). “Lambeth Labour is letting him down badly.”
“We’ve pointed out again and again that Lambeth is spending far more on wrecking libraries than it would on saving them. “But they won’t listen.
“FOLL is strictly non-political, but many Friends members are Labour supporters – or would be, if the council had decent Labour values.
“If they don’t change, we are determined to get them out at the next local elections – just as they were ousted the last time they tried to sabotage local libraries.
“Sadiq’s manifesto supports libraries. “He needs to get the message that Lambeth is killing Labour votes. “On April 1, people all over the borough will see much-needed libraries closed and shuttered. “And they know there is no need for it.”
A FOLL statement said: “Sadiq Khan was accompanied by GLA candidate Florence Eshalomi – one of the 100 per cent of Labour councillors that have not dared to vote against the mad libraries-into-gyms plan – and ex-Lambeth MP Harriet Harman – who is not remembered for doing much to save libraries when they were threatened on her watch.”
LOBBY OF LAMBETH COUNCILLOR’S ‘FUNDRAISER’ ALSO PLANNED
Library campaigners are planning to lobby a fundraising event for Lambeth Cllr Florence Eshalomi’s bid to become London Assembly member for Southwark and Lambeth tomorrow (Wednesday).
A Facebook blog says: “We agreed at the libraries campaign meeting on 10th March lobby Florence Eshalomi’s fundraiser for her GLA campaign. It is on Wednesday 23 March at 7.00pm so we should get there for 6.15-6.30pm.
“Eshalomi is a Lambeth Labour councillor who has voted for the Library closures (as well as every other cut and council estate demolition). “She is now standing for the London Assembly for Southwark and Lambeth.
“The GLA election campaign is a very good pressure point on Lambeth to withdraw their closure proposals as it threatens to bring their whole policy on libraries into the Mayoral campaign. “So lets make it a big lobby.”
Cllr Eshalomi (formerly Nosegbe) was Lambeth’s cabinet member for culture in 2011.
The fundraiser on Wednesday 23rd March is being held at The Artworks, Elephant Road, SE17