Throw the book at the library-haters

Boyd Tonkin’s feature  in today really tells it like it is:

Talk to activists about library closures, and even those most upset by the cuts will often accept that local authorities have to make tough choices in taxing times. Sometimes they merely question the direction of the axe, as the year-on-year squeeze enforced by Whitehall leaves councils no option but to reduce expenditure.

However, what if another explanation applied: that some benighted councils actually dislike libraries, distrust their users, and in particular loathe those uppity campaigners who dare to question their decisions? After all, they can and do dismiss these trouble-makers as “middle-class” (however blatantly misleading that is, especially in city centres), as if that amounted to any sort of argument. They may also claim that people can now buy all the books they want cheaply from Asda or Tesco; that everyone reads on computers or Kindles; that paper books mean nothing to fully-wired youngsters.

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Saturday 1 Oct – Karaoke & Dance to Sweet Sounds @ The Windermere

Don’t miss the 2nd Preston dance…with added Karaoke! Such a success the last time around, we’re doing it again.
8pm @ The Windermere Pub
Just £5 entry.
Noel the landlord has kindly invited you to bring a plate of nibbles to share. Maybe some more gingerbread councillors? Or some SOS scones?

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Introducing…Brent Reading Circle

Otherwise known as a Book Club – it’s a chance for reading enthusiasts to get together and discuss that thing Brent Council says is “obsolete” – books!

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.

TONIGHT: Film Screening – Cruel Separation

Cruel Separation is the award-winning story of General Pinochet’s American backed military coup in Chile in 1973, told through the eyes of four women who lived through it and narrated by Donald Sutherland. Chile coup

Friday 23rd September in Kilburn. 

Plus Q&A with Director, Sarah Boston  

Kingsgate Community Centre,
107 Kingsgate Road, Kilburn, London NW6 2JH
£10/8 – for tickets, email us

Refreshments available.

The film covers the coup from different perspectives and how the four women survived, picked up their lives afterwards and carried on in exile and back in Chile, to tell their stories of love and loss.

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Anger at town halls after they write off debts of £135 million

In today’s Evening Standard, Brent admits it has written off £millions in uncollected debt:

Campaigners today condemned town halls for not doing enough to hunt down “every penny” that bailiffs and debt collectors failed to trace.

An Evening Standard investigation found that in the 2009/10 financial year Tory-run Westminster council wrote off the most at £20.6 million.

This included £19.4 million in unpaid parking fines, which the council said was accumulated over several years and included foreign cars and embassies that refused to pay tickets and fees under diplomatic immunity.

Second highest was Labour-run Brent, which had £17.3 million uncollected, including £9.7 million of council tax. Hackney overpaid £2.58 million in housing benefit which is now lost.

Le Monde: the Preston Bibliotheque Campaign

Le Monde on Preston LibraryHaving made waves across the Atlantic in the Wall Street Journal, this week the Preston Library Campaign was featured in France’s biggest daily LE MONDE.

You can read the original French here. Or a rough English translation here (we’re working on a proper translation).

Who said we’re running out of steam? After just a few months, Brent SOS Libraries has raised £22,000 – and counting.

With special London tours, an exclusive film screening, and karaoke to come, there are plenty more ways to help. Keep checking our EVENTS page and other ways to get involved.

TONIGHT: The Great Preston Pub Quiz…

It’s the 4th Great Preston Pub Quiz. If you haven’t already been, this could be your last chance to experience the most talked about events of the year (in Preston) – prizes to won and a right-proper quizmistress, the wonderful Frances!

Bring friends, or just yourself!

£5 (£3 concs)
@ The Preston Pub, opposite the library  – MAP HERE

Take a leaf out of New York’s book: Invest in your libraries, don’t close them

The Evening Standard has joined the campaign to Save Our Libraries (across London).In a series of high profile reports, The Standard has noted the attack on Brent’s libraries.

Christopher Platt, who runs 100 Libraries in New York told the paper:

London should be investing in its libraries as vital community assets in times of economic hardship instead of closing them

Full article here.

‘Library cuts will be devastating for children’

The Evening Standard reports:

“The effect on children will be the worst. Books are so important, now more than ever. People are so cash strapped that books will be one of the first expenses to go.”

She added: “For boys it’s particularly important because what’s the alternative? Roaming the streets or sticking them in front of the TV and condemn them to not having the vocabulary to express themselves.”

Library cuts will be devastating for children

Kathleen Frenchman, chairman of Libraries for Life for Londoners, said: “There are more and more children who cannot afford to buy books. Children will be greatly deprived.

Full article here.