Category Archives: What you can do
This week, many Brent residents recieved an email that began like this:
Dear Library Member,
We haven’t seen you for a while! Did you know that when you borrow books you can earn rewards through our loyalty card scheme?
Here’s a few reasons why it might be worth visiting us again soon.
With a massive drop in library users, Brent Council are begging for people to return. Supermarket-style loyalty cards and free DVD giveaways are being used to try to tempt people back. Indeed, the Library Transformation Project is looking very much like the Library Destruction Project.
Here’s a couple of responses Brent have been receiving:
I cannot believe you had the gall to send me this.
The main reason you haven’t seen me for a while is because YOU CLOSED MY LOCAL LIBRARY.
Did you forget that you have taken away easy access to libraries from thousands of Brent residents?
My family will start using the Brent Library service as soon as you reopen Preston Road Library which is walking distance away for us
Please can you confirm when this will be as my daugthers are keen to use their local library on Preston Road as soon as possible
Want to have your say? Email firstname.lastname@example.org now.
Many of you will have noticed that in the months since it closed Preston Library has become something of an eyesore – infested with weeds, and a magnet for litter.
You could, I suppose, argue that this mess is a fitting monument to the work of Ann John and Gareth Daniel, but this was – and will again be – our library, and we have decided to clean up and re-plant the front garden.
Please join us outside Preston Library this Saturday, 9 June, at 1pm. Read the rest of this entry
This Monday – 21 May – Brent’s Executive will consider a ‘Progress Report’ on the implementation of the Libraries Transformation Project (library closures to you and me).
This remarkable report (which you can read on Brent’s website) barely mentions the huge drop in visits to Brent’s libraries since last October.
It barely mentions the huge drop in books issued by Brent’s libraries.
It does claim that 46% of the users of the closed libraries have moved to other libraries, but doesn’t reach the obvious conclusion – namely that the other 54%, many thousands of people, have been deprived of their library service.
Please come to Monday’s meeting to support the campaign to get our libraries back.
We will be outside Brent Town Hall at 6.15; the meeting starts at 7pm, and members of the public are welcome to attend.
The change of leadership makes this the best possible moment to show that our campaign is alive and kicking, and that we aren’t going to go away.
Today, our appeal was rejected. Brent Council ignored 83% of residents in its sham consultation and managed to convince the judges that it cannot afford Preston Library (around £200,000), as it spends half a million on christmas decorations in Willesden Green, £100 million on the mortgage for the Civic Centre and £3 million on a new mega-library no one has asked for.
Brent Council lied about our library being “poorly located and low usage” – it is neither, it was the one of the best performing libraries in the borough. But failing to collect and analyse the data properly, riding roughshod over the views and needs of the public and wasting public money is not actually prohibited by any particular law. So there you go.
Given this, we are not giving up. We DO have a strong case, and we will go to the Supreme Court if we can.
What happens now? As we decide on the next steps, there are still things you can do before the library is bulldozed permanently:
1. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is obliged to investigate any failures to provide an efficient and comprehensive service. He said he has been waiting for the verdict. He has it now and it is time to act. Write to him here.
We have lost 218 hours of library service across Brent. In return the Council has “improved its service” by a mere 23 hours. It takes 5 weeks to get a delivery of books if you cannot get to one of their remaining, inaccessible libraries.
3. Not one Labour councillor publicly opposed against the closures. Not one voted against. It is up to every voter in Brent to complain to their councillor, MP and London Assembly member, Navin Shah. It is unacceptable and undemocratic to ignore such huge opposition. Call, email and write to them here.
Retail expert, Mary Portas (known for her TV series Mary Queen of Shops) is warning that after years of neglect and mismanagement they will disappear forever unless urgent action is taken.
Preston Road, which has lost its bustling library and will soon be hit by parking charges nobody has asked for, will go into decline.
Cllr. James Powney, responsible for (closing) libraries is also the man who decided that we should pay to park, for no other reason than:
treating Preston Road in the same way as other places is fair.
There isn’t a parking or congestion problem on Preston Road that needs addressing, simply that other areas have it, so must we. Other areas also have libraries, so shouldn’t we James??
The judgment will be handed down at 2 pm in Court 72.
Brent SOS Libraries appealed against a High Court judge’s decision that Brent’s closures were lawful at a two-day hearing on 10-11 November.
Dinah Rose QC argued on behalf of library users and Brent SOS Libraries Campaign that in deciding to close six libraries, the library had failed to prevent discrimination against groups such as Asians, young children and local school children, by neglecting to assess the impact on such groups.
PLEASE WRITE IN. Details below….
Committee announces new inquiry INTO LIBRARY CLOSURES
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee [not the DCMS] is today launching a new inquiry into library closures. The Committee is inviting written submissions and requesting views on the following issues:
- what constitutes a comprehensive and efficient library service for the 21st century;
- the extent to which planned library closures are compatible with the requirements of the Libraries & Museums Act 1964 and the Charteris Report;
- the impact library closures have on local communities;
- the effectiveness of the Secretary of State’s powers of intervention
- under the Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964.
A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to
email@example.com and have ‘Library closures’ in the subject line.
Submissions should be received by Thursday 12th January 2012.
Guidance on submitting written evidence…
At 10 am, we went to the DCMS in central london to present 12,000 signatures and hundreds of letters to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt. 400 were by kids alone. We demand he fulfil his responsibility to.investigate whether Brent’s new library service is “comprehensive and efficient” (as it should be under Museums.and Libraries Act 1964).
He met the council in June, but has he heard our side? Nope. The sheer volume of complaints to him should persuade him to do so.
Monday 24th October
7.30pm at The Preston Pub
Raffle and laughter guaranteed.
The people who thought it would be easy to deprive us of our last remaining service, who thought we don’t care enough, never expected their Wall of Shame would be transformed into our community message board, telling Ann John that we want our library back.
It’s half term, the weather was very nice today and we plan to stay put, collecting letters and signatures to demand the government intervenes – they will only do this if we bury them in letters and petitions. We are running a rota, so if you fancy volunteering an hour of your time this week, please let us know. There is food, chairs and plenty of friendly people to meet. It’s actually really good fun!
It has been set up by an active Preston Library Supporter – a local version of an international idea: regular and friendly meetings to talk about a favourite book. There will be opportunities to buy and sell books too.
For more information and ways to get involved see their website here.
The government is to decide in SEPTEMBER whether it will intervene in Brent. It is absolutely vital you ALL write to Jeremy Hunt (at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and demand an enquiry. This could save our library, but it needs hundreds of letters and emails to be sent as soon as possible – they said they would make a decision by September, this hasn’t happened, so we still have time.
Thousands are affected by the closure of Preston Library, thousands of letters must land on Jeremy’s desk.
It takes 2 minutes to write a short email. Do it now. Get your neighbours and kids to sign it.
What can you do?
1. Write a short email by clicking: firstname.lastname@example.org
- tell the Secretary of State why you will not be able to use another library if we lose ours – they may be too far, you may have small children who cannot go on their own, you can’t afford the bus fares, you have a disability and can’t travel easily. How will the loss of Preston Library affect YOU.
2. Download this: Letter to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP – Aug 2011
- Add your own comments and sign OR just sign as it is and email to: email@example.com
- Personalised letters are less likely to be dismissed, so please try to add own comments of you can
3. Just send us your name and address and we’ll add you to our petition. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
£10 each. Large size only.
They are selling fast, so Email Us and we’ll make sure you get one.
A great way to help us save your library. Estate agent, Salter McGuiness will give us £5 for every board that goes up in people’d front gardens. You only have to allow it in your garden, and they will donate the money. Easy!
Tara Brady of Wembley Observer reports…
CAMPAIGNERS are asking generous members of the public to donate just £5 to help fund legal action against Brent Council over its decision to close six libraries.
A new umbrella group, called Brent SOS Libraries, has been set up to represent all six reading rooms which will shut its doors for good this year.
The determined campaigners say they need at least £30,000 to take their case to the High Court for a judicial review.
They believe the council did not consider alternatives to closing the libraries, that it did not assess community needs or the impact, made mistakes about facts it presented to the public, misunderstood its legal duty to provide a library service and acted unfairly and therefore unlawfully.Without the financial support of the community the case cannot be taken forward.