Defiant Lambeth library campaigners now under siege

 At the beginning of the third day of occupying Carnegie Library there had still been no communication with Lambeth elected representatives except to tell them to leave.Lambeth Council is doing all it can to escalate the conflict around the peaceful, good humoured occupation of Carnegie Library, Herne Hill. Extra security guards under the instruction of Lambeth Council, with police, have been posted outside since lunchtime.

The security guards have now been instructed by the council to prevent anyone entering or re-entering the building. Around 80 people including 10 small children are inside the library. If they leave, they cannot return. They are effectively under siege.  The occupiers have also had to insist that the council do not lock the fire exit.

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Meanwhile, a large crowd of local people, angry with the Council, is growing outside, Many of them had come for a public meeting, but found themselves excluded.The council is also seeking a court order to evict the occupiers but this cannot be served until Monday at the earliest. It has shown no interest in discussing campaigners’ concerns, emailed to them yesterday.The occupation will continue over the weekend.Louise Martin, a local resident said,
“This behaviour is shameful. Surely not all Labour councillors condone these actions”
The Library was condemned to close to be converted into a gym, alongside nearby Minet Library. The total cost of the gyms: £3m to install, plus £1m to shore up running expenses.Residents overwhelmingly oppose the destruction of their much used local libraries in favour of unwanted gyms.Dr Martin Heath, one of the campaigners stated,
“There is a need for a full investigation of Lambeth’s financial competence and also of its strange arrangements with Greenwich Leisure Limited.”

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The campaign has sent Lambeth Council the following demands:

We, the people of Lambeth occupying the Carnegie Library, call on Lambeth Council:

1. To listen to the people they represent

2. To keep all Lambeth libraries fully open with professional library staff; the scrap their plans for closures and healthy living centres, and reverse their decision

3. To re-open the Carnegie and Minet Libraries with immediate effect, with all library staff, to continue to provide a full library service

4. To adopt the community/staff mutual plan which will keep all ten libraries fully operational as part of a full library service for the borough. This offers a creative, innovative solution in the face of cuts

5. To collaborate with all the Friends groups as set out in Lambeth policy

6. Not to transfer the Carnegie Library building, which was given for a library for the benefit of the community, to the ‘Carnegie Community Trust’ which does not represent the community.

 

Photo by Vivienne Lewis

Photo by Vivienne Lewis

2 April 2016
The usual chess club will go ahead, but this time, through the bars, at 2pm today.
At 3pm there will be a general gathering with performances outside the library.
The Dulwich Hamlet football team and fans will march by at 5pm.
And candles will be lit at 7pm.
Carnegie Library
188 Herne Hill Rd, London SE24 0AG
Bus P4 from Brixton stops outside, 68 and 468 from Herne Hill or West Norwood

1 comment for “Defiant Lambeth library campaigners now under siege

  1. Susan lander
    April 3, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Well done to the supporters of Lambeth library for standing up to their council. It is immoral to consider getting rid of libraries, a cornerstone of our culture. They provide not only a core book lending service,but also a safe and caring meeting place for the community. Good luck to you.

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