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.
Council officers have announced that an artist studio company called V22 and two community interest groups are their preferred bids. V22 have bid for Forest Hill Library alongside the Forest Hill Society and a bid has been taken to run Torridon Road Library by a group which has not yet been officially formed. Plans for Catford library and Manor House are unclear, although it is expected that staff will be stretched from the three remaining council-run libraries to cover these with reduced opening hours.
The officers claim that 'good progress has been made' despite having been unable to find community groups to run all four threatened libraries as was promised during a public consultation, a plan which faced a massive opposition and spurred hundreds of people to march from Lewisham to Catford Town Hall in May.
On Wednesday, Councillors and Mayor Steve Bullock will decide if giving public libraries and the literacy and education of its future generations to private interests and precarious, untrained community groups is good progress, or if there is a case for rescuing Lewisham's Library Service during a time of upheaval and dire need.A growing number of library workers and campaigners continue to fight for libraries as the havens of calm and doorways to learning and opportunity which communities in Lewisham demand.