About The Campaign

We are a group of diverse people of all ages united by our passion for libraries – and our determination to defend our legal right to fully staffed, safe, egalitarian library services and spaces - in which to learn, to research, rest and reflect, to create, to make community connections, and to thrive in an increasingly unequal society. 

You are warmly invited to join us to defend Lewisham Libraries from the latest proposed cuts. Come along to a meeting. Get involved. We need you, your energy and skills to save our services!

Aims and Objectives

  • To raise awareness of the proposed changes to library staffing and publicise how these changes may impact communities in Lewisham, some of which are among the most deprived in the country.

  • To expose the hidden impacts of these proposed cuts, such as the loss of ‘behind the scenes work’ including outreach services to schools, young and older people; cultural and educational programming of activities and events; peripatetic professional support for community-managed libraries; and more.

  • To gather evidence to demonstrate the value of our libraries, and library staff, through engagement with library users, mapping activities and services, collecting accounts and personal testimony as to how library staff, spaces and services have helped them.

  • To oppose the proposed cuts to the library budget resulting in loss of staff and staffed library hours, in recognition of the essential role that staff play in providing information, support with developing multiple literacies, in particular meeting the information needs of vulnerable users who need to access ‘digital by default’ services and safe spaces for learning and community connections. Reducing staff capacity and opening hours in these areas will leave vulnerable service users with nowhere else to go.

  • To hold Lewisham Councillors and Mayor to the highest standard in meeting their statutory “duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof” (Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964). The reductions currently proposed to the already hollowed out service would entail that “all persons desiring” to use Lewisham libraries would be unable to meet their needs through appropriate opening hours and levels of staff support.

  • To campaign for ‘ring-fencing’ of the Lewisham libraries budget and argue for improvements in the library service to match the cultural and literacy needs of its users. This joins up with the national petition to lobby parliament to ring-fence funding for all statutory library services.  

  • To engage with library users across the borough, as well as library workers, volunteers, as well as other library campaigns and council departments across the country also affected by the cuts, demonstrating that this is a national as well as a local public issue.

  • To protect the ideal of the 'holistic service' offered by public library services. Public libraries are unique insofar as they underpin and intersect with elements of all other public services and we demand that our libraries are recognised for their unique and vital role by Mayor and councillors.

Lewisham’s municipal motto is Salus Populi Suprema Lex (‘The welfare of the people is the highest law'). In line with this, our objectives are:

  • We will defend our legal right to fully staffed, safe, egalitarian library services and spaces - in which to learn, to research, rest and reflect, to create, to make community connections, and to thrive in an increasingly unequal society.

  • We urgently request a full and transparent Equalities Impact Assessment report, detailing the mitigating actions in areas where the impact on equalities is high.
  • We are calling for greater transparency regarding the decision-making process behind the £450k cut to the libraries budget. We seek to establish how this figure has been calculated and the rationale behind this specific reduction in funds in relation to other cuts. We argue that cutting from a service that in fact reduces demand on other services is a false economy.

  • We demand that the proposed consultation is comprehensive, meaningful, transparent and demonstrates that it is genuine by listening to diverse voices and acting upon their contributions. We argue that simply giving the public an either/or choice between the two proposed solutions is not a consultation.

Join us in the campaign to achieve these ends.

Check out our campaign images by following our Facebook album  and tell us what Lewisham Libraries mean to you.

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