Only a few more days before Lewisham's Mayor & Cabinet make a decision about which bidder shall win the contract for Manor House Library. Please add your voice of protest to others who stand against third-party organisations running libraries that belong to the people.
Please find below an example template to base your letter on. Decision is to be made on 8th February so this is a critical time.
Template for your letter of protest:
To Lewisham Councillors and Mayor Sir Steve Bullock,
As a Lewisham resident and regular library user, I am writing to urge you to reconsider the plan to outsource Manor House Library to a third party.
I do not believe that the plans as they stand and the bids from the shortlisted businesses are adequate in assuring 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 children and young people will be compromised. Recent research has shown that reading for pleasure is a major factor in academic success, over social class or parent's education. Why does the Mayor and Cabinet feel that they can gamble with this essential part of our children's learning and social well-being?
If free access to local culture is withdrawn from aspiring individuals and young families and passed into the hands of the few or those who are themselves precariously positioned, it will not thrive.
Is this system of Community Libraries really value for money? Manor House library has had a huge amount of investment in recent years; to hand over to a third party for a peppercorn rent and free business rates is surely a waste of public money. I am also concerned that under the plans in the bid from V22, community rooms are to become private studios for artists and not for the public benefit or use.
The council has a statutory duty ‘to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons’ - can the current proposals guarantee this?
Please reconsider your plans and use the reserves the council has to keep Manor House open for all and run by trained and accountable Council staff.
I urge Mayor and Cabinet to rethink your plans to outsource such an essential service.
Send your letters and emails to:
Deputy Mayor Alan Smith,
And your councillors on the cabinet:
Chris Best (Sydenham - Health, Wellbeing, Older People);
Kevin Bonavia (Blackheath - Resources);
Janet Daby (Whitefoot - Community Safety);
Joe Dromey (New Cross - Policy & Performance);
Damien Egan (Lewisham Central - Housing);
Paul Maslin (New Cross - Children and Young People);
Joan Millbank (Telegraph Hill - Third Sector & Community);
Rachel Onikosi (Sydenham - Public Realm);
Joan-Reid (Lewisham Central - Chair Planning Committee B);
And Mayor & Cabinet Secretary/Support Officer Kevin Flaherty;