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
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.