Write to the mayor, and sign the petition. That’s the message from the Blackheath Society, who today sent out an email to its members:
The first priority is to mobilise and demonstrate as much support as possible to preserve a credible library service in the village. The BVLUG are organising a petition which we hope as many as possible will sign. This can be done at Blackheath Station on Saturdays and at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings in coming weekends. This got off to a flying start last weekend, with some 900 signatures – please add yours.
An online petition will also be organised for those unable to sign in person – details will be announced separately.
UPDATE: The online version is here.
They recommend writing to the contacts listed below, and (interestingly) quoting the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, which lists the duties of Library Authorities. Lewisham Council is a Library Authority, and here’s the section:
7 General duty of library authorities
(1)It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof, . .
Provided that although a library authority shall have power to make facilities for the borrowing of books and other materials available to any persons it shall not by virtue of this subsection be under a duty to make such facilities available to persons other than those whose residence or place of work is within the library area of the authority or who are undergoing full-time education within that area.
(2)In fulfilling its duty under the preceding subsection, a library authority shall in particular have regard to the desirability—
(a)of securing, by the keeping of adequate stocks, by arrangements with other library authorities, and by any other appropriate means, that facilities are available for the borrowing of, or reference to, books and other printed matter, and pictures, gramophone records, films and other materials, sufficient in number, range and quality to meet the general requirements and any special requirements both of adults and children; and
(b)of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service, and of providing advice as to its use and of making available such bibliographical and other information as may be required by persons using it; and
(c)of securing, in relation to any matter concerning the functions both of the library authority as such and any other authority whose functions are exercisable within the library area, that there is full co-operation between the persons engaged in carrying out those functions.
What I think this means is that in 1964, Lewisham Council agreed to take on these responsibilities, and they aren’t able to shirk them, just because central government threatens them with massive cuts.
Anyway, please sign the petition if you can, and please write/email to the people the Blackheath Society suggests. They’ve prevented the closure in the past, so they know what they’re talking about!
The Mayor : Sir Steve Bullock
Civic Suite, Town Hall, London SE6 4RU
tel: 020 8314 6193
Ms Aileen Buckton, Executive Director for Community Services
Please CC firstname.lastname@example.org and the local councillors and MP:
Chris Maines(LibDem) CllrChris.Maines@lewisham.gov.uk
Amanda De Ryk (LibDem) CllrAmanda.DeRyk@lewisham.gov.uk
Kevin Bonavia (Labour) CllrKevin.Bonavia@lewisham.gov.uk
Heidi Alexander MP Heidi.email@example.com