From the Stockholm Metro daily free newspaper, Friday 26 October 2012, p 28



Squatters Run This Library


Open: A number of libraries have been forced to close by the crisis in the UK. But in the London borough of Barnet help has come from an unexpected area.


It’s Ann’s first day at work, and a young man in dreadlocks is instructing the retired police officer. “You only have to sort them into groups, classics go over there”, he says.


This London library is being given a makeover; the walls are hung with banners proclaiming “Revolution” and squatters are in charge of services here.


The borough of Barnet closed the library down in September because of the cuts, despite the local population having campaigned for eight months to save their library. A few days later eight Occupy activists climbed in through an open window; they discovered the heating was on, and reopened the library. All books were gone, but local people have donated 6,000 new books.


“I used to come here every day with my son; there are no other library near here”, says Dorothy Nicholas, who was part of the campaign to save the library. “When the squatters opened it up again people were really grateful. And the choice of books is better now too”.


Margaret, a retired lady, has no problem with the squatters: “They’ve done an excellent job and are lovely”, she states with a smile.


Mark Weaver, the new librarian, has been involved with Occupy for a year. “This is what the Occupy movement should be doing, to support local campaigns rather than spend their time on ideologies. We can support these communities by offering a service, and have experiences of confronting the authorities”.


Hundreds of libraries are being closed down in the crisis-laden UK, and he hopes that they can help out in other places too. The group has recently managed to ensure that the library will stay open until Christmas, by winning in court against the local council. The future, however, is far from certain. A spokesperson said: “The council is under an obligation to look after its assets and will continue by all legal means to try to evict the squatters”.



Kieron Monks

Metro World Wide






'One Barnet' Judicial Review the fight against undemocratic outsourcing goes on!

posted 29 Apr 2013, 06:52 by Friern Barnet   [ updated 29 Apr 2013, 06:52 ]

BAPS responds

BarnetAlliance for Public Services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 29 April 2013‘One Barnet’ Judicial Review the fight against undemocratic outsourcing goes on!
Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) supported  Barnet resident Maria Nash’s application for  Judicial Review of Barnet Council’s ‘One Barnet’ outsourcing programme and so, naturally, is disappointed at Mr Justice Nicholas Underhill’s judgment announced today.
The Barnet Alliance will support Maria should she decide to appeal.
We understand that Barnet Council has agreed not to go ahead with the NSCSO contract for the short time it takes for the opportunity for appeal to be explored. We welcome this sensible delay.
Barnet Judicial Review PRESS RELEASE 29th April

During this hearing Barnet Council relied on the technical grounds that the JR application had not been made in time. Their defences against the substantive grounds for the application particularly their failure to consult residents on what is an enormous change to council services and to the way they are governed were extremely weak and we feel that the arguments aired during the hearing and reflected in the judgment given today vindicate the decision toapply for JR.
The judgment finds that “the Council never set out to consult about its outsourcing programme at all”. He says: “if the application for judicial review had been made in time I would have held that the Council had not complied with its obligations under section 3 (2) of the 1999 Act in respect of the decisions taken in 2010/11 to outsource the performance of its functions and services, covered by the proposed NSCSO and DRS contracts.”
The legal route is just one way to oppose One Barnet: Barnet Alliance’s campaign has included marches, petitions, lobbies, questions at Council meetings, and more. Despite today’s setback, Barnet Alliance’s campaign against One Barnet will continue.
BAPS coordinator Tirza Waisel said:
“The One Barnet programme continues to be a disaster for Barnet. The consultant spend is enormous, there are no discernible savings yet, Council staff morale is rock bottom, and jobs are haemorrhaging out of the borough this decision gives the green light for the Council to sign the NSCSO contract with Capita which will see up to 400 local jobs transferred to Capita centres across the UK. In the case of Your Choice Barnet, jobs have been degraded to the detriment of vulnerable service users. This is just the start. If the looked for savings from One Barnet do not materialise, there will be even more cuts to the vital services that Barnet residents rely on.  Barnet residents simply can not afford the One Barnet programme.
“We are encouraged that the court has agreed with us that Barnet Council have failed to consult residents over measures that add up to the wholesale remodelling of local government.
Today’s judgment, although a setback, fundamentally changes very little.
We will support Maria Nash if she decides to appeal, but, in any case, our campaign against One Barnet outsourcing and for democratically accountable public services will continue because it has to our fight is just and goes on!”
Notes for editors
1. Barnet Council’s One Barnet programme includes the letting of two large contracts: Capita has been chosen to run the New Support and Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO) contract with Barnet Council, worth at least £320 million over 10 years and advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union as worth between £600 and £750 million. A second contract covering Development and Regulatory Services (DRS) worth £275 million over 10 years is being bid for by Capita Symonds and EC Harris.
Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS), formed to defend and improve public services, supported Maria Nash’s legal challenge. Maria is not a member of BAPS.
Contact: Barnet Alliance tel: 07534 407703;; @barnetalliance

Colour-field splash Paintings by Mike Bernstein

posted 22 Mar 2013, 10:43 by Friern Barnet

My artistic and scientific development run a parallel course. I studied physics at university and taught maths in secondary education until 1987. From 1982 to 1987 I attended evening classes in painting, print-making and sculpture. From 1987 to 2005 I exhibited and sold my work in Covent Garden, London , and at my OXO tower studio by the River Thames. The oeuvre was conventional, thematically nostalgic and    stylistically dependant on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modes of representation. The art was rooted in a classical tradition. It was out of sympathy with the conceptual development  in both art and science of the modern era.  My art needed a revolution.

In 2005, some hundred years after the scientific revolution emerging from Einstein’s theory of special relativity, my artistic development caught up with the twentieth century. It became abstract in appearance; it was expressionistic in delivery and by chance stumbled into the twentieth century, which by then was just ending.

During this period I had begun to study, as an interested dilettante, developments in twentieth-century physics. I looked at relativity, both special and general, also at quantum mechanics, the standard model, field theory, string theory, and many other speculative theories. The art followed, stumbling by chance into string theory with photons and gravitons emerging from the nozzle of my replacement paint brush, a plastic bottle.

Like Jackson Pollock I throw my paint at the canvas but with more energy and to my surprise a field of paint (analogous to a quantum mechanical force field) emerges as a worldsheet complete with photons and gravitons; as a Ricci flow perhaps.

Having reached the twenty-first century the art is catching up with the science.

There is much still to be explored: the Higgs field and the Higgs Boson, dark matter, dark energy and much else. I must keep abreast with the science coming from CERN and incorporate it into my art and not fall back into the false security of nineteenth-century science and representation!

View my action paintings as performance art on youtube at


Media Log

posted 6 Mar 2013, 06:04 by Friern Barnet

Click on the links below to see a sample of our media coverage.

Morning StarThe library that came back from the dead10 February 2013
The IndependentBoyd Tonkin: Squatting public property helped to save my first library. Don’t make it a crime7 February 2013
The BooksellerFriern Barnet library to be volunteer-run6 February 2013
TimesFriern Barnet Library will not be sold but council deal is ‘not perfect’, say occupiers6 February 2013
The MirrorThe book stops here: Campaigners win battle to run UK’s first people’s library6 February 2013
The GuardianThe Friern Barnet library victory shows the way to campaign against cuts6 February 2013
ITVBarnet library saved5 February 2013
New StatesmanWhose library is it anyway?5 February 2013
BBCFriern Barnet Library handed over to community5 February 2013
The GuardianLibrary campaigners save Friern Barnet branch for community5 February 2013
Barnet and Whetstone PressSquatters to leave Friern Barnet Library as council and residents near deal5 February 2013
TimesCommunity takeover of Friern Barnet Library expected tomorrow4 February 2013
TimesNo eviction for squatters as Friern Barnet Library deal with council comes ‘very close’1 February 2013
Barnet and Whetstone PressResidents on the verge of sealing official takeover at Friern Barnet Library31 January 2013
Barnet and Wheststone Press‘Talk to us directly, not through a third party’, Friern Barnet Library squatters urge council10 January 2013
TimesBarnet Council announcement leaves Friern Barnet Library squatters on the shelf8 January 2013
TimesBarnet Council ‘disappointed’ by Friern Barnet Library squatters’ plans to appeal eviction4 January 2013
TimesSquatters will launch two-pronged attack to prevent eviction from Friern Barnet Library4 January 2013
TimesEleventh hour meeting could decide Friern Barnet Library squatters’ fate3 January 2013
TimesTimes Series review of the year – September29 December 2012
Barnet and Whetstone Press‘We won’t give up on our library dream’20 December 2012
BBCFriern Barnet library squatters can be evicted by Barnet Council19 December 2012
TimesFriern Barnet Library squatters to learn eviction fate at Barnet County Court18 December 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressLibrary occupiers look to negotiate as judge approves council possession order18 December 2012
TimesEviction order granted by Barnet County Court but Friern Barnet Library squatters could seek reprieve17 December 2012
TimesHearing to evict Friern Barnet library squatters begins today at Barnet County Court hearing17 December 2012
Morning StarResidents set up new ‘library’9 December 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressCampaigners’ joy as Friern Barnet Library is listed7 December 2012
The GuardianFlourishing of ‘big society’ in Barnet raises major legal questions for councils7 December 2012
TimesFriern Barnet Library’s listed status will not prevent sale, say Barnet Council Conservatives6 December 2012
TimesCouncil aims to boost library use3 December 2012
BBCBarnet council leader defends outsourcing plans2 December 2012
TimesSquatters ‘shocked’ at council plans to discuss Friern Barnet Library sale before court hearing21 November 2012
TimesWill Self draws capacity crowd to Friern Barnet Library17 November 2012
The MirrorThe guerrilla library: As cuts close 8 libraries per month, we visit one that rose again14 November 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressBarnet Council defends library policy9 November 2012
ActualittéRoyaume-Uni : fermetures de bibliothèques et mobilisation citoyenne7 November 2012
TimesAuthor and TV personality Will Self backs squatters at Friern Barnet Library6 November 2012
BBCLibrary closures may be unlawful, MPs warn6 November 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressCouncil abandons artsdepot plans30 October 2012
TimesCouncillors say thousands of pounds wasted on fruitless ‘landmark’ library plans30 October 2012
Metro (Swedish edition)Har drivs biblioteket av ockupanter
Read an English translation, courtesy of Anne Lamming
26 October 2012
LinkiestaLe biblioteche inglesi chiudono. I cittadini si mobilitano25 October 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressFilm-makers produce second movie about impact of cuts in the borough21 October 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressWriter Will Self to visit library squatters20 October 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressAccess row over use of Friary House20 October 2012
The Financial TimesThe new Britain, work in progress15 October 2012
The GuardianBattle of Barnet: activists secure legal victory in fight against library closure12 October 2012
TimesCheers in packed Barnet County Court as Friern Barnet Library squatters’ eviction hearing adjourned10 October 2012
Barnet and Whetstone PressFriern Barnet library eviction proceeedings delayed until December10 October 2012
TimesFriern Barnet Library squatters in court next week2 October 2012
The Big IssueFriern Barnet Library: re-opened by the community26 September 2012
ITV NewsThe campaign to save Friern Barnet Library20 September 2012
TimesFriern Barnet Library activists positive after victory at Barnet County Court19 September 2012
TimesSquatters have two weeks to compile civil court defence for Friern Barnet Library occupation18 September 2012
Ham & HighCamden squatter instrumental in delaying eviction from Friern Barnet Library18 September 2012
TimesBarnet Council ‘tables £10,000 offer’ to Friern Barnet Library squatters17 September 2012
BBC NewsSquatters reopen Friern Barnet library13 September 2012
The GuardianSquatters can occupy a part of society’s architecture too13 September 2012
The IndependentNew powers of eviction don’t scare off squatters reopening shut library13 September 2012
The GuardianSquatters reopen Friern Barnet library after council closes service11 September 2012
TimesFriern Barnet Library reopens as negotiations between Barnet Council and squatters continue10 September 2012
TimesSquatters to reopen Friern Barnet Library this weekend7 September 201

Friern Barnet Community Library Newsletter

posted 28 Feb 2013, 06:20 by Friern Barnet

Friern Barnet Community Library -

The People's Library

Mon 11th              6:00-7.30pm
Tweeting Workshop

Tue 12th               6:30-7:30pm

Wed 13th             10:00-1:00pm
Talk Direct Action/Occupy with Roehampton Uni

 Wed 13th            11:15-11:45am
Drama and Rhyme time for toddlers (with local mum and Drama Teacher Sinead – CRB checked)

Thu 14th               11:15-11:45
Song and Story Time for toddlers (with local mum and pre-school teacher Tanya CRB checked)

Thu 21st               8:00pm-10:00pm
Open Mic Night

Fri 15th                6:00-7:30pm
Tweeting Workshop
Fri 15th                7:00-10:30pm
EARTH CIRCUS PRODUCTIONS PROUDLY PRESENTS EVOLUTION CABARET.  A Celebration: "WE SAVED THE LIBRARY". Benefit raising funds for the library and paid librarians. Suggested Donation up to £5

Brianne O'Brien, a freelancer who works for the BBC, is coming to the library this pm (Monday) to talk to whoever is around.

Please sign the petition

posted 19 Feb 2013, 05:31 by Friern Barnet   [ updated 19 Feb 2013, 05:31 ]

Sent on behalf of BAPS
Stop the privatisation of Regulatory Services

The government is using Barnet Council as a pilot to privatise public services, leaving people without influence on policy through the ballot box and without a say in how their council is run and their council tax spent. We need to prevent the privatisation of Regulatory Services to ensure that councils fulfil their statutory duties to protect the health, and safety of residents.
We are concerned that Barnet Council is about to hand over its Regulatory Services (in particular the Environmental Health and Trading Standards services) to a private company. Councils have statutory responsibilities to monitor the private sector in order to ensure the health and safety of their residents. The current high- profile national public-health scandal about processed foods emphasises that private companies do not adequately monitor their own activities, leaving the public at risk. If Barnet Council is allowed to privatise these services, it will set a dangerous precedent for other councils. We call for an immediate stop to the privatisation of council Regulatory Services throughout the country.

Sign our petition and join us on the Barnet Spring March to save our services: 23 March, Finchley Central Station in London, 11am.

Saved Again! Friern Barnet Library Get's Thrown A Life Line

posted 7 Feb 2013, 07:39 by Friern Barnet

Dear friends,

There must be something in numerology! April 5th last year is when they shut our library down, September 5th when our knights in shining armour from the Occupy Movement appeared and now 5th February sees it re-opened. What a shame many of you could not be there due to work etc. The turn-out was huge - especially considering it started at midday on a work day, and the media presence unbelievable.

The library was looking a picture: sun-lit, beautiful tulips donated by John Dix (Mr Mustard), and an enticing spread of nibbles and beverages. The piece de resistance was a gorgeous book cake by our very own Maryla.

The media wanted to ask so many questions (the predictable: "..and now what?" was one of their favourites.

Jeffrey (Rabbi Newman)'s tie was much remarked upon (!) and he did a splendid job as 'mein host' giving some of the backdrop to the story and the running order. Out we went to see the ribbon cut by a couple of trustees and Phoenix and then we did a huge hand-linking, almost skipping, sweep around the green, back in front of the library and off again- still all linked and singing "get up, stand up, save the libraries" - to circle around the east side of our parklet!

What else? Yes, Sarah Sackman, the wonderful barrister who defended Keith and the Occupiers so brilliantly (and generously) spoke, as did Pat, the licensee,  Phoenix, Barry, our loyal Labour Councillor, and your's truly - who felt rather intimidated by the barrage of tv and other cameras.

I hope you enjoy the articles and media pieces in the links below.

Please let us know if you can help man/woman the roster at the library, and come along to the next meeting in the Friern Barnet Community Library on Thursday at 7pm.

Links of the day Friern Barnet library was handed over to the community:

Good news stories:

Please support Newcastle Libraries.

Forthcoming events

National Libraries Day 2013 is coming up this Saturday 9th February, here's the Twitter hashtag: #NLD13. Please contact Frances and Ben if you want to help plan an event.


Invites you to join in a Barnet Spring March 23rd 11am Finchley Central Tube, which is a protest against not only what is happening in our borough but also against privatising and cutting to public services – particularly the closure of libraries and hospitals – everywhere. The more people that come together to protest, the less we can be dismissed as a small group of activists and the greater the impact we can have on government.

Best wishes,


Keep Libraries public
Keep on Reading

National Libraries Day

posted 7 Feb 2013, 06:31 by Friern Barnet

This Saturday 9 February is National Libraries Day and to celebrate we're collecting mini love letters to libraries from readers and writers.

We're asking people on twitter to tell us why they love libraries using the #LoveLibraries hashtag.

To show your support for libraries on National Libraries Day you can also add a Love Libraries twibbon to your profile on twitter or facebook.

If you're on Twitter, watch out for the mini love letter tweets from well-known authors too.

Mini love letters to libraries

We've already had a few mini love letters to libraries through on twitter and we'll add more here on National Libraries Day:

I #lovelibraries because they're for everyone. What could be more democratic? @readingagency #NLD13

I #lovelibraries because they allow EVERYONE the opportunity to explore this, and other, worlds - no passport or money required! @readingagency

@readingagency 3 children & me = 10 books each = 40 books, WONDERFUL! We wallow in books, read, listen, discuss, BLISS #lovelibraries

@readingagency #lovelibraries because my tiny unemployed world is opened wide through books

@readingagency I love libraries because... they offer a free world of information, enjoyment, and community! #LoveLibraries #NLD13

I #lovelibraries because mine taught me to love books and gave me the ambition to write some @readingagency #NLD13

@readingagency Libraries have never been as relevant as they are today. Keep them open! #LoveLibraries

@readingagency I #lovelibraries because they're a haven of the unknown!

@readingagency I #LoveLibraries : the heart of a community, enriching and enabling, with expert help on hand, open to all.

@readingagency As a kid, I loved MY Library - printed books gave me the opportunity to escape & imagine #lovelibraries

I #lovelibraries because where else can you get a lifelong supply of FREE BOOKS?? Heaven! @readingagency #NLD13

I #lovelibraries A ton of free books every visit, fun stuff for my kids, best bit of a Saturday! @readingagency #NLD13

Get involved

Let us know your mini love letters to libraries by posting your's in the comment box below, emailing your love letter to or tweeting @readingagency using the #LoveLibraries hashtag.

Find out more about what's happening in libraries around the country on the National Libraries Day website

Read the latest from Public Libraries News

posted 7 Feb 2013, 01:07 by Friern Barnet   [ updated 7 Feb 2013, 01:07 ]

SCL shares plans for 2013.

In a welcome spirit of open-ness, the minutes of the SCL (Society of Chief Librarians) Executive Committee meeting held in CILIP on 23rd January 2013 are now available publicly online.  This is part of a conscious spirit of engagement on the part of senior library managers to engage with public library campaigners and, presumably, also with rank and file library staff.  It leads on from its welcome “Universal Offers” announced last week and continues with an announcement in the minutes  that it is reviewing its core purpose and governance.

The main points include a sneak preview of the results of the ACE research and an insight into SCL meetings with politicians:

  1. Arts Council England (ACE) post changes: National Lead for Libraries will be 50% of a post backed up by five Library Relationship Managers.
  2. Arts Council England:  “Envisioning the Library of the Future” has found five clear themes: (i) physical/virtual library space, (ii) importance to children, (iii) importance of trusted and unbiased access to information, (iv)social opportunity/equality, (iv) tension between traditional bricks-and-mortar-and-paper library users and early adopters.
  3. Arts Council England: Four key areas for action identified as “library space and cultural offer”, “digital technologies and creative media”, “resilient and sustainable business models” and “leadership, skills development and the role of library staff”.  There will be roundtable meetings with partners/stakeholders [apparently not including any campaign groups], chaired by Sue Charteris, in February.
  4. SCL will review its core purpose and governance.  Its priorities will be: to structure aims around ACE findings, develop national offers, finding a role for SCL given reduced ACE support, “continued engagement with stakeholders”, improved advocacy/communication.
  5. Boss of SCL, Janene Cox, to meet with Ed Vaizey on 11th February and his shadow Dan Jarvis on 13th February.
  6. The Government’s E-Lending Review [Sieghardt Review] to be published in February.
  7. SCL to meet with many [non-campaigner] national organisations on 12th February to discuss priorities and funding.


“The Occupy movement has raised a great deal of awareness of global inequality but has not focused on or achieved small, concrete wins such as this one. The Barnet residents’ protests fell on deaf ears until the squatters supported by Occupy moved in. Squatters have had an opportunity to rebrand themselves as socially responsible, community minded individuals who are working to restore closed-down public services. The local residents are clear that without the input of the squatters and Occupy, the library would not have reopened.”

  • Future of librarians in a eBook world - Atlantic Cities (USA).  “Many, such as New York’s Queens Public Library, are reinventing themselves as centers for classes, job training, and simply hanging out.” … “They are also about human beings and their relationships, specifically, the relationship between librarians and patrons. And that is the relationship that the foundation created by Microsoft co-founder’s Paul G. Allen is seeking to build in a recent round of grants to libraries in the Pacific Northwest.”
  • Love libraries on National Libraries Day - Reading Groups. “We’re asking people on twitter to tell us why they love libraries using the #LoveLibraries hashtag.”

“Here, then, is the point at which I see the new mission of the librarian rise up incomparably higher than all those preceding. Up until the present, the librarian has been principally occupied with the book as a thing, as a material object. From now on he must give his attention to the book as a living function. He must become a policeman, master of the raging book.” José Ortega y Gasset, in 1934.

  • New libraries, new directions: the outlook for public libraries in England – Designing Libraries. ““While no one is any doubt that councils are facing tough choices as a result of cuts to budgets, it is equally clear that many are responding creatively to the challenge, rethinking the role of libraries in their communities, radically restructuring their buildings portfolio but also investing in new facilities. “Over 40% of the libraries listed illustrate the trend towards a greater integration of services or facilities.”

“As much as I love and prefer books, I still think bookstores are dead and that that’s not a bad thing. Libraries have so much more and for such a better deal. Not just financially, but also socially and culturally. Not only do I save money, but I can share books easily with an entire community and have those books curated, in every sense of the word, by professionals who care mostly about books and don’t need to make a profit.” Bookstore strikes Back - Metafilter.

  • Passmore Edwards in the East End - Spitalfields Life. “At the time of cuts to libraries and other vital social resources, Dean Evans author of Funding The Ladder – The Passmore Edwards Legacy takes a timely look at the forgotten benefactor who shaped the culture of the East End through his enlightened philanthropy.”
  • Twitter Takeover : Thursday : Kathleen O’Neill : Assistant Librarian, Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Voices for the Library. “Our jobs are so much more than issuing and returning books, but as long as that is the prevailing understanding of our role, governments and councils, and some members of the public, will consider us easily replaced with anybody able to scan a barcode and shelve a book.”
  • Vatican museums boss laments ‘brutal sacking’ of library - The Age (Australia). “The director of the Vatican’s museums has warned Italy’s cultural heritage is ”vanishing” after prosecutors in Naples said two more people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in a ”premeditated, organised and brutal” sacking of the city’s 16th century Girolamini Library.”
  • Welsh Minister announces extra £150,000 for tackling child poverty through cultural institutions - CILIP in Wales. “This additional funding is earmarked for work that will widen access and participation, providing a step-change in increased participation in museums, archives and libraries by the poorest families in Wales. Museums, archives and libraries open minds and open doors to previously closed areas of society.We must work to preserve library services in these very difficult financial times, but that we should simultaneously and pro-actively work to ensure that no one is excluded from using these services.”

“In Wales cultural budgets certainly aren’t the first targets for cuts. The Minister noted the situation in England where there is almost daily news of significant cuts to libraries, including reports of mass closures. The Minister is determined that this will not happen in Wales. Yes, these are times for imagination and investment; solutions such as co-location may work well.  his commitment to the public library service in Wales, again re-iterating that all powers will be used, and measures taken in order to ensure “comprehensive public library services” as required by the Museums and Public Libraries Act 1964.”


Local News

  • Barnet – The library that lived: victory for the people of Barnet - Broken Barnet. “Phoenix spoke passionately about the wider issue of the threat to libraries, and the need to preserve our public library service. He has always urged everyone to continue to fight for the retention of professional library support from Barnet, and this is a crucial point for many of us who celebrate the saving of the library building, but furiously condemn the actions of Barnet Council in their assault on our library service, and the removal of professional posts from the library structure. “
  • The book stops here: Campaigners win battle to run UK’s first people’s library – Mirror. “Well-wishers donated more than 100,000 books and volunteers refurbished the building, installing second-hand computers and replacing furniture.”
  • Friern Barnet Library will not be sold but council deal is ‘not perfect’, say occupiers – Times series. ““It is a pragmatic solution that we will happily accept as there is no alternative. But we believe libraries should be publicly run, with qualified librarians and assistants. “This is not a perfect solution but the council has budged and this is what was on offer.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester - Events at Ellesmere Port Library to celebrate National Libraries Day – Pioneer. “There will be free reservations – with a maximum of five – on the day and a happy hour between 11am and noon for DVDs, when library members will be able to borrow two DVDs for the price of one. The library is also encouraging users to express why they love the library, and their responses will be put on display.”
  • Newcastle – Campaigners hand over Newcastle library petition - Chronicle. “a 5,000-strong petition makes its way to city leaders. Those seeking to prevent 10 library closures will make their case to councillors at the civic centre tonight.”
  • North Yorkshire – Joy as care and library plan given go ahead - Darlington and Stockton Times. “Hambleton district councillors have approved plans to demolish the Cherry Garth residential care home in Chapel Street and replace it with 52 extra care flats, communal facilities and new public library.” … “development will also include a public library, which will offer more space for a greater range of services and facilities than at the current library in Finkle Street and cut the service’s costs through sharing a building.” … “a library would make it easier for the extra care residents to become active in the community.”
  • Plymouth – Libraries are “desperately in need of wifi” council is told – This is Plymouth. “Young people would be sad to see libraries disappear – but their needs are changing, a council panel heard yesterday. With budgets under increasing pressure and councils around the country closing libraries, Plymouth’s library service faces tough challenges. Cllr Ian Tuffin, the group’s chairman, said: “We are looking at long-term solutions and the possibility of involving partner organisations.”
  • Suffolk – Make a heart at Haverhill library – Haverhill Echo. “Shona Bendix, chair of Suffolk Libraries IPS, said: “It’s great to see so many events taking place round the county to mark National Libraries Day as it shows that the library service is thriving and how the community is supporting their libraries. I hope people will take the chance to go along with their families and see what’s happening.”
  • Waltham Forest – New hope for volunteer-run library plans in Leytonstone - Guardian series. Library closed in 2011. “campaigners have been given hope after being allocated a room at the Epicentre community centre in Leytonstone under a three-month agreement.  They hope the deal will be extended and are appealing for volunteers to come forward to help make their plans a reality.”
  • Warwickshire – Fines amnesty for all library users in North Warwickshire this weekend - This is Tamworth.  “National Libraries Day promotes the many aspects of the service, encouraging regular users to use more of what is on offer and persuading more people to start using their local library. Gill Colbourne of Warwickshire Libraries said: “The fines amnesty is to encourage our customers to return to use the library, even though they might have fines from a long time ago.”
This was originally published by Public Libraries News, please sign up to their mailing. Please follow the link

Library Handed over to FB Community

posted 5 Feb 2013, 06:23 by Friern Barnet

In case you did not hear of the latest developments, here's an extract from The Guardian

Squatters who have occupied Friern Barnet library for the last five months are claiming victory today and are set to move out after the council agreed to hand the library over to the local community.

The north London library was closed by Barnet council last April. The squatters entered the building through an open window in September, restocking shelves with donated books and acting as librarians with the backing of the local community. In December, despite recognising their right to protest a judge ruled that they were to be evicted, but now, following meetings between Barnet council and locals, an agreement has been reached for the library to be run as a community facility by residents.

"With the council's One Barnet change programme making greater savings than initially predicted I am pleased that we no longer need to sell this building to support the library capital programme," said Barnet council leader Richard Cornelius. "I've met with the trustees of the community library who are a very committed group of local residents and I'm looking forward to seeing the new community facility up and running. Hampstead Garden Suburb already has a vibrant and popular community library and I would be delighted to see a similar success in Friern Barnet."

The council has given library trustees a licence to be in the library legally for the next month after the squatters move out. It is then set to award them a two-year lease to run the library, as well as a grant of £25,000 and what Cornelius described as "other practical help".

"There are a lot of very happy people here today," said activist and squatter Pete Phoenix, a member of the Occupy movement, speaking from a ceremony today where the library was set to be handed over by the squatters to the trustees of the newly formed Friern Barnet Community Library. "It's been five months of direct action and local cooperation [and] we're very happy with a major victory."

Phoenix said that although residents had been campaigning to save the library for two years, "as one of the locals said, they had nearly given up hope. They'd tried all avenues, and they were on the point of feeling 'that's it'. Then the building got reoccupied."

Originally printed here

"This is a triumph for the local community," said one of the trustees of the new community library. "Our library was closed in April. And we were told the building would be 'marketed'. Now we have our library back, with council financial support. We achieved this through constant campaigning, lobbying, and building a broad alliance including squatters, activists, supporters of the Occupy movement, local residents and library campaign groups."

Residents are now looking to find at least 50 volunteers to help run the library, and will continue to push the council for a paid librarian

News update

posted 30 Jan 2013, 01:21 by Friern Barnet

Sent on behalf of Friern Barnet Communiuty Library

31 January-1 February 2013
For immediate release

Plans are afoot for an all night party on Thursday in Friern Barnet Community Library to celebrate the anticipated end of the occupation. This will be concluded this coming Friday morning 1 February 2013 with a ceremonial handover of the keys to the Directors of Friern Barnet Community Library Ltd.

The nine Trustees of the newly-created Community Library, which is stocked with 10,000 volumes donated by local residents, are completing negotiations with Barnet Council for a lease to run the library with the community. The library, staffed by Occupiers and the local community, is currently open six days a week, from 11-700 pm, with many evening events. The agreement with the council, following the court case over possession of the library, is that the lease should be concluded by the end of the month and the handover to the local residents done without delay.

"We are in constructive negotiation with the council", said Jeffrey Newman, one of the nine library directors. "We are agreeing a two-year licence, followed by a longer lease and a sufficient grant for initial capital expenditure and professional help to run the library. We are all working flat out for the Occupation to end by the Court deadline, set for 1st February, and for a signed legal agreement with the Council. The party is being held to celebrate a win-win-win-win conclusion for the local residents, for the Council, for the occupiers, for CommUnityBarnet and for the legal process."

Journalists are particularly invited to attend the key ceremony on Friday morning.

For more information please contact: Jeffrey Newman telephone: 07866-546-673.

The Friern Barnet Community Library (Ltd) has been legally incorporated in the last fortnight following the court case brought by Barnet Council for repossession of the library. Members of London Occupy reopened the library and have been running it with the community since September. The library had been closed despite strong local opposition in April last year.

Negotiating the lease and accompanying grant is complicated. A "tenancy at will" is under discussion as an interim arrangement while the lease is concluded.

An appeal of the repossession order granted to the council by the lower court is still pending.

1-10 of 47