Preston Library can re-open!

A wonderful opportunity for anyone to be part of this exciting development!
Help us achieve this in any way you can.

PRESTON LIBRARY CAMPAIGN VICTORY

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Thanks to your support – and with your help –

Preston Library can reopen in 2015

How many of us who regularly used Preston Library or walked past it, knowing that we could drop in to borrow a book or DVD, read a paper, use a computer, study or read undisturbed, or enjoy all the cultural, social and essential activities that were hosted in the facility?

The loss of the library left a gaping hole in the heart of our community and deprived residents, young and old, and students of a vital service.

However, Brent Council has now promised to donate the Preston Library property to the local community to operate a volunteer-run library service.

The Friends of Preston Library, who have been campaigning against the closure of our library, and Preston Community Library, which has been offering book-lending and other services in the absence of a council-funded library, are delighted to be given the opportunity to restore and enhance the facilities offered by the Preston Library project.

This is great news for the community.

Sign up to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook to see how you can get involved with the reopening of Preston Library.

Brent begs and bribes people to use libraries

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.

…. etc

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:

Hi

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 libraries@brent.gov.uk now.

THIS SATURDAY: Preston Library Clean-Up at 1pm

Preston Library on Google Street Maps

They may have removed our banner in the dead of night, but the world can still see it on Google street maps.

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. Continue reading

MONDAY: Lobby the Brent Executive – 6.15pm: Brent Town Hall

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.

Is it all over? Nope.

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.

2. A cross-party Select Committee is also investigating the nationwide closures. We will be submitting evidence next month.

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.

The death of our high street? Tell Mary Portas

Mary Portas plans to save the high street

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??

Continue reading