Campaigners have occupied the Carnegie Library following the planned 6pm closing of the Herne Hill public building by Lambeth Council for the final time this evening.
A peaceful vigil took place between 4pm – 6pm outside the library, with a celebration of the history and the people that make the building so special taking place inside.
When it came to the time for the Council to padlock the doors ahead of what appears to be an uncertain future, campaigners from the Friends of Carnegie Library refused to leave.
A spokesperson told Brixton Buzz:
“This is not Lambeth Council’s library to close after 110 years, it belongs to the locality. We are staying here to publicise just what Lambeth’s Labour council is doing to our local libraries – ripping the heart out of them to turn them into unwanted gyms.”
The aim is to keep the library operating independent of the political interference of Lambeth Council, and showcase the Carnegie as a beacon of resistance to library cuts in Lambeth and across the country.
Padlocks were changed by Council staff on Wednesday evening. The Council has even gone to the expense of hiring 24 hour security guards to keep a look out at the Carnegie.
It will actually cost the Progress led Council more money to keep the Carnegie closed than it will to keep it open, in the absence of any business plan from Greenwich Leisure Ltd.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, [right] the Progress Cabinet member for Book-ish Gyms, remains defiant in wanting to gift the public building to her Third Way chums.
She has also managed to manufacture an argument between GLL and the Carnegie Trust – the ‘independent’ group that close connections with the Progress Cabinet.
Brixton Buzz reported yesterday how the farce of the book-ish gyms has now led the Trust to consider excavating the basement of the Grade II listed building, just to appease their Progress pals and find somewhere for GLL to place their treadmills.
In the absence of any viable plan from Lambeth Council or GLL, the Friends group now plans to keep the library open as a community run facility – the true definition of a Co-operative Council.