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.
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!
Press Release from SFBL Group 17th April
The People’s Library event, organised by Roger Tichborne, was a great success, supported by many residents. The event showed the amazing community spirit here in Friern Barnet, with tea and cakes, books and fun on our lovely village green.
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.
We would like to thank Roger for making the event happen, and appreciate his support as well as the ongoing support of the British Legion, Barnet Alliance and the local trade union, Unison, who attended on Saturday.
We would like to clarify that the Save FBL Group did not agree to be party to, and was not consulted about, the proposal in Roger Tichborne’s open letter sent to Barnet Council on Monday (asking Barnet Council to consider opening FBL to house The People’s Library). Whilst it was a grand gesture and admirable in its intent, the Save FBL Group group had not agreed to this action. The position of our democratic, constituted group has always been to maintain FBL as a public service run by Barnet council and staffed by paid, qualified librarians. We have maintained this position for the duration of our year-long campaign.
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.