The children's area at Stratford Library in the London Borough of Newham is under threat. Although many of us use the library on a daily basis, it was only today (12 September 2011) that we learned from library staff not only that the library will soon close to the public for half a year, but that large sections of the children's library will be sacrificed. 

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A cherished resource under threat

Newham Council plan to close the library to the public for "refurbishment" for as long as six months from 1 October 2011. In these building works, the children's library will be radically reduced in size in order to accommodate non-library Council services that will reportedly move from where they are now over the road at the Local Service Centre at The Grove. One member of library staff reported that the planned changes would see our cherished children's library reduced to a space similar in size to the small children's area at The Gate in Forest Gate. 

Cutting services in secret

With the closure of this cherished community resource is apparently only weeks away, there was no attempt by Newham Council to communicate this information to the community of library users, children especially, who will bear the hardship. Up until 16 September, there was no information on the Newham Council website, nor in the local media about the future of our library. Moreover there has been no public discussion or announcements regarding the future of the library facility despite the drastic reduction in children's library space that is reportedly planned. 

A smaller library will drive away kids and families

Adequate library facilities for children are among the most important investments a community can make in its future. While billions are invested in the 2012 Olympic site just down the road, it is outrageous that a facility that nurtures children of all ages in the community is being reduced in size. 

Even at its current size, the children's library in Stratford is always well used, and becomes very crowded with children and parents/carers during peak hours and special activities such as storytelling and singing. A smaller children's area will be over-crowded and will drive many parents and children away from this community service altogether.  

We call upon the Newham Mayor and Local Council to do the following:
  • Put a stop to any plans to reduce the size of Stratford children's library.
  • Inform the community of exactly what is planned for Stratford library.
  • Inform the community of the process by which these decisions have been made for these valuable resources.
  • End the clandestine cutting of community services upon which our children depend. 
Please support us:

We ask local families and community members to support this effort by contacting their Local Council members, MP, local media, and library administration to raise these issues. On this site you can find the latest news, see the relevant documents, contact us and get involved