The First People's Library
The weather being sunny and blue added to blow away the woes of despair left by the Cabinet's decision to close our nearby beloved FBL. Our group whilst supportive of the idea of a People's library, understand it is by no means a replacement library service. Barnet Council struck the axe on that idea last week. Our position was always to maintain a public service library with paid librarians as the most valued resource of our taxes. No amount of volunteering could ever come close to the quality service of a paid librarian with the infrastructure to match of a council run service.
A library goes beyond the scope of books and touches the lives of our diverse community without which, generations are deprived of a public space, a place of refuge, contact and sense of community, information on welfare benefits, a resource and a community centre, a second home, an additional classroom.
On Saturday, the passion of our community was broadcast nationally from our green, while perhaps inside our hearts, many of us lamented the bitter taste of the loss of our library, while recovering from the shock that thousands of local residents in Friern Barnet had not been heard by our local authority to keep our library OPEN!
Congratulations! to Dr. S.Oliver Natelson for achieving the Local Hero award by the Observer Ethical Awards 2012.
The Save FBL Group sees The People’s Library as a protest, a way to demonstrate the strength of feeling from this community that we need our council-run, local library. This is a way of marking our outrage at Barnet council’s treatment of our community.
The Save FBL Group remains angry and disbelieving of the actions of Barnet Council. We have now learned that between July 2011 and February 29th 2012 (the day of the Scrutiny Meeting) no meetings at all took place between Barnet Council and artsdepot to discuss a landmark library.
We have also learned that Barnet Council, who insisted that the Save FBL Group proposal must cost a maximum of £10,000 per year, will be giving the Hampstead Garden Suburb Volunteer Library £25,500 this year alone. This once again demonstrates the continuing contempt shown to our community.
The First Big Sit In
We Achieved National News coverage on the day.
The Guardian ran a story about libraries on the day which included live updates of photos, tweets and audio. BBC News caught up with us. While our local and very supportive brilliant local press came along and supported us from the Barnet Press, Barnet Times and of course and but by no means least the famous five Barnet bloggers had a thing or two to say.
We'd like to thank each and every one of you who took part in yesterday's event and a big thank you to all the media support provided, the local Councillors, A.M Poppy and Andrew Dismore.