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”.
Metro World Wide
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
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 www.youtube.com/mikebernsteinartist
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.
Sign our petition and join us on the Barnet Spring March to save our services: 23 March, Finchley Central Station in London, 11am.
This Saturday 9 February is National Libraries Day and to celebrate we're collecting mini love letters to libraries from readers and writers.
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.
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 ow.ly/hsPmr
@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! bit.ly/XNNkt7
@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 instagr.am/p/VaG7mZiReK/ #lovelibraries
I #lovelibraries because where else can you get a lifelong supply of FREE BOOKS?? Heaven! @readingagency #NLD13 ow.ly/hsPmr
I #lovelibraries A ton of free books every visit, fun stuff for my kids, best bit of a Saturday! @readingagency #NLD13 ow.ly/hsPmr
Let us know your mini love letters to libraries by posting your's in the comment box below, emailing your love letter to firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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:
This was originally published by Public Libraries News, please sign up to their mailing. Please follow the link
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
Sent on behalf of Friern Barnet Communiuty Library
WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN and WIN!
31 January-1 February 2013
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.
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.