New strike over library plans

Protesters outside the Minet Library
Protesters outside the Minet Library. Picture Vivienne Lewis
Jackie Plumridge dispenses tea at Carnegie
Picture: Vivienne Lewis

Library campaigners and unions representing library staff are continuing their fight against Lambeth council’s plans for its libraries.

Members of the trade union Unison are due to strike against the proposals for two days on March 22 and 23, and work is continuing on a seeking a judicial review of the council’s decisions.

Opponents of its plans have welcomed the reprieve for Tate South Lambeth (TSL) and Durning Libraries after a public consultation by the council.

They are now determined to resist the proposal to turn Minet and Carnegie libraries, in Myatt’s Fields and Herne Hill respectively, into gyms (described by the council as healthy living centres) run by its leisure provider GLL, with some books in an area of the building with no trained library staff.

A new online petition against the council’s plans already has thousands of signatures.

The campaigners’ red “countdown to closure” banner, first put up by Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library, is now outside the Carnegie library.

Picture Vivienne Lewis
Picture Vivienne Lewis

They say the action of council staff of who forced TSL staff to take it down turned into a social media “PR disaster” for the council.

Laura Swaffield, chair of Friends of Lambeth Libraries, said it was becoming obvious that the closure of Minet and Carnegie libraries on April 1 would not save a penny.

“The staff will still be on the payroll. Both buildings must still keep running, paying utilities, paying rates, because they are still occupied by (Carnegie) tenants and library back offices or (Minet) the borough archives,” she said.

“According to the council itself, it still has no idea what it plans for these buildings. So the only effect will be to boot out hundreds of users and flourishing groups, who will have nowhere else to go.”

Brixton Library is one of five Lambeth libraries designated as “town centre” libraries in the council’s cuts-driven plans which are less affected.

Megan Roberts’ moving post on Brixtonblog reveals the human cost that closure would have.


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