From statement issued by Laura Swaffield of the Lambeth libraries campaign.
Right across Lambeth, people are asking how the council can press on with its disastrous library plans despite the fact they are far more expensive than saving a service which supports and enriches the lives of so many.
The council tells us repeatedly that they must make savings in the face of government cuts but when it comes to our libraries, the facts speak for themselves:
- the cost of keeping Minet and Carnegie closed exceeds the cost of keeping them open!
- signing a deal with leisure company GLL to install gyms in these libraries will cost millions!
Rather than standing up for our communities in the face of austerity, Lambeth councillors prefer to do deals with property developers. They are happy with the changing face of Lambeth, but their spin hides the fact that Lambeth is now the most unequal borough in London, according to research from the Runneymede Trust! 50% of young black males are unemployed in Lambeth – a shocking and shameful fact. By closing Minet library, which served one of the most deprived areas of Lambeth, the council has robbed the community of access to a library service and to the life chances we know they provide. We have continued to challenge them on the impact on equality of their library closures. Rather than listen they continue to keep the doors locked.
The campaign to save our libraries – Defend the 10 – continues. We need to stop these destructive plans. Already we have lost the library services in Waterloo and Upper Norwood where we now have collections of books but little or no library staff;
Two libraries remain locked and guarded while the council is set to sign a deal with GLL to turn them into pay-to-use gyms with collections of books and no library staff. Lambeth is calling these unstaffed spaces ‘neighbourhood libraries’. We do not accept that such provision can be called libraries and therefore have been campaigning against these closures. The remaining libraries, already under pressure, are now overcrowded.
Join us to demand that Lambeth Labour Council listens to the community, re-opens the closed libraries and scraps its plans to turn them into unwanted gyms.
Facebook/Save Our Libraries – Lambeth: http://defendthe10-lambeth.org.uk
National demonstration for libraries,
museums and galleries
– watch out for details