Saturday, 14 January 2017

Forthcoming Campaign Actions and Meet ups

Protest - Lobby of Mayor & Cabinet         

5.30pm Wednesday 8 February 2017 at Lewisham Town Hall

Campaign organising meeting   

7.30pm Wednesday 8 February 2017 at Catford Constitutional Club


Speak Up for Libraries conference          

10am-4.30pm Saturday 18 February 2017                                          

Unison Centre, 130 Euston Street, London NW1 

The council has delayed its decision on which bidder will get the contract to Manor House library until Wednesday February 8th. You are welcome to join us on Wednesday the 8th February, 5.30pm, the evening of the decision. A few of us must be there to protest to the Mayor & Cabinet members trooping in, and proffer a viable alternative. After that from 7:30pm we’ll have a planning meeting in the Catford Constitutional Club in the downstairs lounge, (just up the road, down an alleyway) to put together and rehearse the next action. 

Before their decision, we will be writing to the Mayor and Cabinet, as well as informing press of the scandalous story. We’ll endeavour to be outside Manor House and Catford Library a couple of times in the next few weeks raising awareness.

Templates for letters of protest will be available here soon.

We are planning to attend the Speak up for Libraries conference.  If you can afford the £20 early bird rate that ends on the 18th January, please get a ticket. Join us and help us mobilise other campaigners for future actions.

Monday, 7 November 2016

National Libraries March 5 November

On Saturday, Save Lewisham Libraries campaigner joined a national demonstration by library, gallery and museum workers and their Unions.

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

Further Reports of a Downgraded Library Service

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?

The campaign invites more library users to comment on these latest developments to our local libraries.

If you want to protest at the downgrading of Lewisham's Library Service, write to your councilor and the Mayor who approved this and join us on the national march this Saturday. Lewisham campaigners will meet up at Pret A Manger on the corner of Mabledon Place/Euston Road at noon.

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

Manor House Library Opening Hours Slashed

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

Significant Reduction to Manor House Library Opening Hours

Last week, many fantastic librarians and library assistants left the library service due to service restructure and redundancies. The campaign would like to thank them for their years of dedicated service to our communities and wish them well in the future.

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

National Libraries Demo 5 November 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