On April 1st, campaigners gathered outside the Carnegie Library to mark the anniversary of Lambeth closing the popular local resource, located between Herne Hill and Denmark Hill.
Despite widespread and sustained local protests, the council has continued to push ahead with its daft scheme to turn the library into an unwanted, privately run gym, which will include some books on the shelves.
— BeaR (@Beareis) April 1, 2017
Urban75 contributor CH1 was at the protest and posted his report:
Just back from Carnegie Library.
Celebrity speakers included local novelist Stella Duffy – who gave a very incisive and logically argued intro.
Laura Swaffield of the libraries campaign who set out the background of the campaign over the previous year.
Radio 4 celebrity Jeremy Hardy who gave a rather militant condemnation of Progress Labour’s 20 year history of capturing the Lambeth Labour party and imposing right wing policies – including privatising libraries.
I think there were about 3 trade union officers – one to do with disability – he pointed out the work done with visually impaired and deaf groups in Lambeth libraries – up to now.
Last and most popular was Rachel Heywood who stressed that the libraries campaign needs to be sustained. She claimed with enough pressure the council would have to reopen the currently closed libraries (both Carnegie and Minet). Rachel also said that she had been asked by the Lambeth Labour group to recant – in writing – her previous statements against Labour Group policy.
She was asked to do this initially and when she refused she was suspended for 6 months. After the 6 month suspension they again asked her to publicly recant and she refused. She did not explain exactly, but I assume that means she is still suspended.
After Rachel’s speech we were invited to form a human chain round the library. This was closely watched by the police, who had apparently been assigned to this ultimate of middle class demos for fear of a violent break-in.
The chain was evidently successful and presumably may make some publicity shots in due course. I think there must have been 150 – 200 people at the demo including the super-keen Wendy (80) who carries banners saying “Hoot to save the Library” everywhere and was acting as marshal, keeping people to the pavement.
We were unable to attend, but documented the notices and messages that had been affixed to the library a few days later:
188 Herne Hill Road
London, SE24 0AG
More info and background:
Take a look around the library in our photo feature.
In photos – Carnegie Library Occupation, Thurs 31st March 2016
In photos: Carnegie Library Occupation. Campaigners defiant but supplies requested
Photos: Carnegie Library campaigners march to Brixton Windrush Square
(Private Eye’s take on Lambeth’s scheme. Click here to see a larger scale version)