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hope you all have a very happy christmas – it’s been great discovering just how passionately walthamstovians (?!) care about libraries, arts, culture and local services. thanks loads for all the support – 150 at the festive fun day despite very unfestive weather, 50 singing carols on the steps of the council, a brave bunch singing them inside the council chamber… lots of fun! hope you all enjoy a much deserved rest over christmas. lots of events coming up in the new year to keep the pressure on the council to re-open st james st library and protect other local services – including the mcguffins cinema campaign event on 5th jan.
See you all in 2008!
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see this bbc story here:
i love the comment from the government that ‘parents have a part to play in encouraging their children to love reading’. Last week the government (Ed Balls) said that parents were partly to blame for falling literacy because they allowed children to spend too much of their after school time playing computer games, rather than reading.
i wonder if these ministers have been to Walthamstow central library, where since ‘refurbishment’, books you won’t find on the shelves include:
Wind in the Willows, the Hobbit, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Swallows and Amazons, The Owl Service, Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Borrowers, The Family from One End Street, Finn Family Moonmintroll, Emil and the Detectives, The Once and Future King, Far from the Madding Crowd, Cold Comfort Farm, The Odyssey…
(you can get many of these on DVD, of course…. ) makes you want to weep… or write angry letters, perhaps?
Fantastic night of Carol singing against the cuts both outside and inside the Town Hall on Wednesday night – big thanks to all of you who came, we counted about 50 people of all ages outside, serenading the councillors by candlelight as they went in. Not bad for something hastily organised in 24 hours to get round the council’s sneaky shifting of meeting timings!
See the video and read the press coverage here
Some of us then went inside and sang joyfully from the public gallery. But rather than stay and listen to our musical rendition of what is going on in Waltham Forest, or even join in, the councillors trooped out of the Council chamber (though some were chuckling) after we’d done a few of our favourites.
Some councillors indicated their support verbally to the campaign to re-open St James St Library and protect services in Waltham Forest more widely – but the acid test will be their votes and actions over the next month or two as the budget setting finalised. We’ll be keeping a close eye, trying to lift the veil of secrecy over decision making and keeping you as informed as possible – now is a great time to be lobbying your councillors via letters, emails, and at their surgeries.
Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!
Please join us for Carols not Cuts TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY 12th) 7pm outside Waltham Forest town hall, Forest Road E17, (before the Full Council Meeting). Make sure the council realises we will notice if they try and sneak cuts through just before Xmas (like they did last year, whilst voting themselves a 30% pay rise).
Please circulate widely ASAP and do come along if you can – sorry for very short notice. Council appear to be playing games – they have just changed the times of their meetings because (we think) they got wind of our plan for a joint protest of all groups who are affected by the council’s current and planned cuts (residents, workers, those who use or care about services and arts provision, etc) .
There is some shelter at the town hall, but wrap warmly and feel free to bring any seasonal costumes, bits and pieces, musical instruments, or carol song sheets – here (updated) are the ones we’ve done…
The miserable weather, and being locked out of our much loved library, didn’t dampen the spirits of 150 adults and children who turned out on Saturday to say to the council ‘give us our library back!!!’.
See the St James St Library Campaign press release here - pics to follow shortly!
Yet more coverage of the disastrous mismanagement of WF Libraries all over the local papers this week. The WF Guardian makes the link between destruction of thousands of books and falling local educational standards here , investigates those infamous fishtanks here
plus loads of letters to the Editor here , the front page of this week’s Yellow Advertiser here, .
The national’s are on the case, too. Following The Independent‘s coverage last week, angry comments about WF Libraries are even making the national papers’s letters page too. Finally, Private Eye (Clyde Loakes’s favourite reading matter, apparantly) has begun to pick up what is going on in WF Libraries – see this piece from the latest issue.
The council is finalising its budget and voting very shortly (i think on 12th Dec). Here is the text of a letter the Campaign sent to all councillors today, especially Clyde Loakes, Geraldine Reardon and Keith Rayner. (copied also to the local paper and our current MP Neil Gerrard and prospective MP Stella Creasy). Now is a great time to urge the council to spend their money wisely!!!
Today’s national Independent (p55, in the editorial and comment section) carries the following story, about St James Library and Waltham Forest libraries, and how this shows up what is happening to libraries elsewhere – “We desecrate the nations libraries at our peril” . It’s great news that the national media is starting to pick up the tragedy of St James Library (as they call it, rather than St James St Library) and the outrageous culling of books within Waltham Forest libraries.
Wow…thanks to everyone’s messages of support, ideas and suggestions, which has given the St James Library Campaign the encouragement to campaign against what we always knew was a scandal of national proportions… please, keep it coming! (and don’t forget to come along on Sat 8th – fun for all the family!)