Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Monday, 7 November 2016
We marched from the British Library to the steps of the National Gallery, where a rally was held with speakers such as writers Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, library campaigners and library users appalled at the devastation of cultural services over the past few years.
The fight goes on...
Next organising meeting - 7pm Monday 14 November at the Catford Constitutional Club.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Depressing reports continue to come in from the public, regarding the handing over of Torridon Road and Forest Hill library to private enterprise, the abandonment of Manor House Library and poor staffing levels at Catford Library.
"Shelving trolley was piled high with books all over the floor on Tuesday morning. Library staff did turn up and shelve them today, however children's library looked like a bomb had hit it. Female security guard stepped in to the breach and has been running the weekly Baby Bounce sessions as up to 20 parents turned up as usual expecting a session. This is beyond what she is expected or paid to do. No printing - whilst I was there 3 people asked and were told they had to go to Lewisham. No collection of reservations - people have to go to Lewisham to collect any. No newspapers - security guards are picking up free copies of the Metro and making them available but no other papers available. No library staff there on Saturday - the busiest day. Self service terminal broke down. Security guard made a note on paper of returned books..."Manor House Library User
People report not being able to print documents - an essential service for some - at both Catford Library and Manor House Library.
Library users also report that Forest Hill Library opened two hours late on Saturday - is this the reliable library service we were lead to believe would be delivered by V22?
Libraries, Museums & Galleries Demonstration
12noon Saturday 5th November, 2016
Meet in the car park behind the British Library, Euston Road.
March to House of Commons for a rally.
Sunday, 30 October 2016
Reports are coming in about the cuts hitting Manor House Library.Two of our activists found some sad scenes on Saturday as the library shut earlier than usual at 3pm. Previous to this there were no library staff to assist library users apart from the security guard who could not meet people's needs leading to disappointment. It has fallen to the security guard to help members of the public this week. She even did the baby bounce session.
At the nearby cafe, a woman introduced herself who ran the child minding group. She was eager to support the campaign and told they had cancelled their childminding group, because it's a community group and doesn't pay. Tuesday was unavailable and so was any other day. It had been a regular and important part of the local community for parents to share their labour sensibly. Before we left, a car was locked in to the library grounds leading to great anxiety, all because of confusion over new opening hours, which haven't been publicised properly.
Many families and individuals came after 3pm and left disappointed, wondering about the simplest of matters, such as where to return their library book.
It's clear the service is invaluable but this current service is inadequate.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
This week marks the transition of more Lewisham's libraries over to the community model, leaving only three libraries run by the Council.
There are still many uncertainties – after a year of planning by the Council. Users and Friends of Manor House note that opening hours have been significantly reduced and are still in the dark regarding its future.
"There was some confusion amongst users about what exactly was happening and what exactly they could expect and how they would manage their own services.
We have 2 e-mails on the hook with council staff, with no answers, and we all need to know who is now responsible for the building at the council, now that the library service has abandoned ship.
It was incumbent on that service, while still in charge, to have made clear what the future offer would be, in advance of abandonment. Instead the staff present on Saturday and Sunday were doing their best to fill the gaps by providing changes to official noticeboards, gates etc.
The Lewisham council website did not seem to have an advance message of these changes on its library pages. Even today the opening hours shown are the former hours."
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Save Lewisham Libraries campaigners will be supporting the National Libraries, Museums & Galleries Demonstration
Saturday 5th November, 2016
Meet 12noon outside the British Library, Euston Road.
March to House of Commons for a rally.
We have been making placards...
Support for Libraries from the Labour Party“I want to give my 100% support for the National Libraries, Museums, Galleries demonstration on Saturday 5 November 2016.
“The Tories have devastated our public services using austerity policies as justification. I promise that a Labour Government will act to ‘in-source’ our public and local council services, increase access to leisure, arts and sports across the country.
“The next Labour government will reverse the damage the Tories have done to our communities in the cities, towns and villages. Libraries, museums and galleries are public assets which help to celebrate and promote the rich cultural diversity of our communities.
“I want to thank the organisers of this event for bring together this social movement to resist the attacks by this Tory government and for promoting these precious public services.”
Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Labour Party
“I want to give my 100% support for the National Libraries, Museums, Galleries demonstration on Saturday 5 November 2016.
This is the kind of social movement Jeremy is talking about, we all need to mobilise, to fight back against austerity policies that are blighting our communities.
The Tories ideological obsession with austerity policies to destroy public services is clear for all to see. They have waged a six year war on our Libraries, our Museums and our Galleries. These valuable public services which reflect, support & celebrate the rich diversity of our communities should be nourished not destroyed.
I give this commitment that under a Labour Government we will reverse the brutal destruction of Libraries, Museums, Galleries.
I will be marching with you on 5 November.”
John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor
Sunday, 21 August 2016
A big thank you to all the library users, Lewisham residents, library campaigns from other boroughs - Lambeth Defend the Ten, Bromley and Barnet. So great to see you all.
The campaign continues... if you are interesting in getting involved in the campaign, come along to our next meeting 7pm Tuesday 23 August 2016 at the Catford Constitutional Club.
Thursday, 18 August 2016
Read the latest article about our campaign in The BooksellerProtest planned over Lewisham library cuts
“Despite overwhelming local opposition, the council is pressing ahead with its plans to remove staff from libraries in Hither Green, Forest Hill and Catford. They want volunteers to run the libraries, but we’ve seen borrowing rates plummet where this has happened elsewhere in the borough (2). These plans will bring our libraries dangerously close to being shut down altogether. Volunteer delivered library services simply can’t offer the skilled support, range of materials and safe public space that properly staffed and resourced library branches provide.“Growing numbers of libraries across London and the UK are being handed over to volunteer groups, and many are in danger of closing their doors for good as a result. In Lewisham we’re sending a clear message that this is not what residents want. Mayor Sir Steve Bullock must now choose whether or not he’ll listen and reverse this damaging cut. We hope he’ll take this opportunity to restore the lifeblood of Lewisham’s communities.”
2) Borrowing rates in community run libraries in Lewisham declined from 60-90% between 2010 and 2014 - substantially greater declines than borrowing rates in council-run libraries. In Forest Hill Library borrowing fell by just 6% over the same period. Figures can be seen at http://bit.ly/2bn1dyZ
Thursday, 4 August 2016
Another march is planned for Saturday 20 August 2016 to protest against imminent devastating cuts to Lewisham Library Services.
Behind Catford Town Hall
March to Lewisham Library.
Help us build for the march - we need volunteers to flyer and distribute posters in the next few weeks. Contact us at email@example.comDownload the poster to print by clicking here
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Saturday, 23 July 2016
Library users asked probing questions during the meeting. But the councillors rubber-stamped the Mayor and Cabinet's decision to hand over some of our libraries to private enterprises - even though the plans are shambolic and not what the public want.
The fight for our libraries continues...
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
The picket lines were supported by Lewisham Library campaigners, raising awareness and collecting signatures for our petition.
Don't miss the important lobby of the Full Council at Catford Town Hall tonight! Meet 6.30pm for 7.30pm Council meeting, when library plans will be discussed and voted on by Councillors.
Monday, 18 July 2016
Lewisham's library workers will be on strike this Wednesday 20th July and there will be a public lobby outside Catford's Civic Suite at 6:30pm for the Full Council Meeting in which bids for the future of Torridon Road, Manor House, Forest Hill and Catford libraries will be decided.
Sunday, 17 July 2016
Leading artists, including a Turner Prize winner, and academics who have taught in Lewisham have lent their voices to the growing campaign that opposes Lewisham Council's plans for our libraries. They outline their concerns in a letter to Councillors and Mayor:
To Lewisham Councillors and Mayor Sir Steve Bullock,
As academics, artists and philosophers who have taught in the borough of Lewisham we write to urge you to reverse the £1m cut from the Library Services budget.
From twelve libraries in 2010, Lewisham council will soon reduce staffed library numbers to three.
We wish to add our voices to the residents, parents and teachers campaigning to secure the literacy, education and freedom of opportunity of future generations in the provision of library services.
Public libraries are needed to provide access to a shared, living culture. Without the grounding provided there, free of private interests, the prospects of Lewisham's coming thinkers and creators will be shortened.
If free access to local culture is withdrawn from aspiring individuals and young families and passed into the hands of the few or those who are themselves precariously positioned, it will surely face stagnation as a result.
From the emancipating student movements and music of the 1960s to the art movements of the 90s and beyond, creativity and positive change in Lewisham has had a national and international impact beginning in its community.
Professionally staffed libraries and the support to local education and culture that they provide are a part of maintaining that effect.
We call on the council to reconsider their plans and use the reserves it has to keep Manor House, Catford, Torridon Road and Forest Hill libraries open for all.
We call on private interests bidding for these public spaces to consider the consequences such action will have on the local community.
Reader in Fine Art
Department of Art
Lecturer In Fine Art/ Art
Department of Art
Dr. Catherine Grant
Lecturer, Critical Studies,
Department of Art
Department of Visual Cultures
Senior Lecturer in Art
Department of Art
Professor Michael Newman
Professor of Art Writing
Department of Art
University of London in Europe
Reader in Fine Art
Department of Art
Dr. Elizabeth Price
Associate Professor in Art
Turner Prize-winning artist
Senior Lecturer in Curating
Department of Art
Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Stella Sanford
Head of Department and Professor of Modern European Philosophy
Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy
Dr. Gilda Williams
Lewisham library workers and campaigners marched alongside many groups including Lambeth's Carnegie Library occupiers and Defend the Ten campaign.
The march culminated with a rally in Parliament Square and inspirational speakers such as Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President (Further Education) who is from Brockley - and gives her support to our campaign.
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Join us this Saturday at the No to Austerity, No to Racism demo. 12pm BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place W1A 1AA
Let's make our next Lobby of the Full Council meeting on Wed 20th July massive. Meet 6.30pm outside the Civic Suite, Catford SE6 4RU.
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Join our lobby of Mayor and Cabinet
4.30pm 13 July 2016
Meet: Outside Civic Suite
Town Hall, Catford SE6 4RUAn important opportunity to protest against the Council's shambolic plans to turn over our libraries to third parties. The Mayor and Cabinet will be making decisions about tenders for Lewisham Libraries at this meeting. Make your voice heard. Bring placards and whistles and drums!
Monday, 11 July 2016
Thanks to everyone for your fabulous support!
Thursday, 7 July 2016
Restore Our Library Service
Lewisham's libraries are a well loved and much used service, especially depended on by children.
It is upsetting then, that our libraries have been put through the wringer, and to show for it, issue numbers have fallen more than almost anywhere else in the country in the last five years. Lewisham Council has executed on its misbeggoten decision to cut £1 million from the budget, making most staff redundant whilst outsourcing operations to social enterprises and charities on decades long leases and contracts. And disgustingly, council advances this as an innovative 'opportunity'. It has also been pushing the money under the rug, as outsourced groups who run into cash flow problems are given large council grants, and this is now par for the course.
The Council removed staff from 4 of our libraries in 2016:
Catford, Forest Hill, Manor House and Torridon Road.
Despite the massive public opposition and the first council staff strikes here in decades, they pushed the changes through. This is not forgotten or over. This must be rectified.
Unison was right to believe that the implementation of the scheme would mean:
- Professional staff will not be available in these libraries
- Opening times will be reduced
- If there are not enough volunteers, then libraries will close
- Library usage and services to the community will be reduced
- Vulnerable users won’t be able to access library services
They can no longer rightly be called libraries but pale imitations, community centres, thinly veiled property development operations that make a show of meeting a few basic library service functions and relying on volunteers. They stretch the remaining council staff dangerously thin, perhaps popping in to Pepys library once a week to mourn the chaos. Having made these idiotic redundancies so drastically management have had to take on agency staff. They've even trained up at cost new staff, who have handed in their resignation finding the conditions intolerable.
In a borough this size it no longer meets our statutory right to a local, accessible, convenient library service.
These hub libraries are under threat of more unsubtle restructures by Bullock and head of the service Anthonio 'they changed my title so I'd have no chance of being sued' Rizzo. We campaign by all our legitimate means, from our right to public assembly, to arguing in surgeries and consultations, to looking into the published books of tender candidates to see what the council turns a blind eye to.
We have perhaps decreased the damange and slowed it down, but council generally has its head in the sand, and the tory government that goes without saying.
In this misinformation, privatisation age libraries are for their users desperately important.
Save Lewisham Libraries urges you to FIGHT FOR LIBRARIES!
Please sign our petition, come to our meetings and developing protests and get involved.