Library Campaigners Raise Funds for Legal Challenge at Northwick Park Fun Day

by barhamlibrary

Gaynor Lloyd, Margaret Roake and Elly Brewer supporting the libraries campaign

Gaynor Lloyd, Margaret Roake and Elly Brewer supporting the libraries campaign

Local residents campaigning to save Barham Park and the other five Brent Libraries under threat of closure took their message to the Sudbury Court Residents Association Family Fun Day on Sunday 19 June 2011.

With the help of BBC scriptwriter Elly Brewer, who is lead writer on BAFTA award-winning children’s TV programme Tracy Beaker Returns, they sold books, collected donations and encouraged visitors to look for hidden Library Treasure on their Brent Treasure Hunt Map.

Elly Brewer contributed and autographed her own book all seventeen copies of which were snapped up on the day.

Thanks to the support of local people nearly £400 was raised towards the cost of the legal challenge against Brent Council. The legal challenge, which is supported by residents across Brent, is an action by users of all six Libraries under threat of closure: Barham Park , Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton.

The users claim Brent Council ignored local people and is riding roughshod over their views. Over half of the six libraries’ active users are under 19. The campaign believes the young people of Brent will suffer most if Labour Councillor Ann John, who leads Brent Council, gets her way and succeeds in closing the six libraries.

 Gaynor Lloyd, one of the active users of Barham Library, said:

“I cannot think of anything that makes me more angry. As a child, I loved my weekly visit with my Mum to the library – 35 years later I get the same joy taking my daughter to Barham Library.”

“I cannot believe that a Labour administration choose to cut libraries –one service that can even out equality of life chances and good health by giving  access to a lifelong love of reading. And, no, Councillor John, you can’t get that by buying a book at Tesco.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Paul Lorber who helped with the stall has called on Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State responsible for Libraries, to initiate a Public Inquiry into Brent Council’s conduct and the future of the Library Service in Brent. He is critical of Brent Council Executive’s faliure to engage properly with local people and take advantage of all the goodwill towards Libraries.

 He said:

“There are hundreds of local people across Brent who are willing to help raise funds and support all twelve Libraries in Brent. It is a disgrace that the Council refuses to listen to their views and instead uses taxpayers’ money on expensive lawyers to justify the closure of six popular community libraries across Brent.”