Monday, 30 April 2012

Friern Barnet Pop Up Library - 28/04/2012

On Saturday we had the third Friern Barnet Peoples Library. We also had a Pro Democracy Rally, allied with the Library. The rally was instigated by the total lack of respect for the people of Friern Barnet shown by Barnet Council. The Peoples Library has really caught the public imagination and the BBC One Prime time show, The One Show came down to film.  Being the instigator of the Peoples library I was interviewed. I explained that I believe that libraries are fundamental to the wellbeing of the nation. They are a universal resource open of for all and giving everyone an opportunity to improve themselves.

I was asked if I thought it was a shame that we had such terrible weather. I think my response rather surprised them. I said  I was elated. Hundreds of people turned up, in the pouring rain. That showed the level of commitment. It is easy to protest when it is nice and sunny. People who come in the pouring rain care. Nothing could make me more proud than the response of the people. It was a miserable day, but old and young showed up. Tea and cakes were shared, books were swapped and people proved they cared. Can the council ignore this?

I was was also asked why the campaign had refused the offer of an alternative location. Sadly the Council just don't get the concept of a local library. They seem only capable of thinking in "megascheme" terms. They don't understand that actually it is the local libraries which make the most difference. What Councillor Robert Rams, Richard Cornelius and  Brian Coleman seem to have completely missed is that libraries are community assets. When the Carnegie fund paid to set up Friern Library 80 years ago, they didn't give the money away, so that philistine councillors could flog the property off years later.

I believe that if Friern Library is sold, Barnet Council have a moral (and possibly legal) duty to pay the Carnegie fund back the money, with interest. The thought that a library has been shut to pay for 47 council officials to be paid over £100,000 a year in wages is truly sickening.

On Thursday, we have the chance to vote in the GLA elections. We can show Councillor Brian Coleman, exactly what we think of his party and their policy of Library closures and parking rip offs. The candidate who is most likely to stop this madness is Andrew Dismore. The people of Friern turned up in their hundreds to support the Library. Please make sure that you support them by voting on Thursday.

1 comment:

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