St James St Library Campaign

Open air library throughout National Year of Reading 2008
January 24, 2008, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Walthamstow book-lovers braved wind and rain on Saturday [19 January]
to launch the National Year of Reading at St James Street Library,
which was closed down last year.

“We were surprised that the borough’s library service hasn’t had a
launch for 2008 as National Year of Reading, so we thought we’d do it
ourselves,” said St James Street Library Campaign. “The people here
care about books but can’t afford the high cost of buying them. They
want to be able to use their library again.”

Though the country-wide event has been ignored by Waltham Forest
council, campaigners and supporters celebrated it outside the locked
building in Coppermill Lane, London E17. Children and adults swapped
books, put up new decorations on the windows and wrote messages calling
on the council to reopen the library.

They’ve renamed the area in front of the building “St James Street
Open-Air Library”. From 2 February, they plan to hold book swaps there
on the first Saturday of every month. No tickets, no payments: everyone
is welcome to bring as many books as they like to swap.


Library closure broke disability law
January 21, 2008, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

See story in on the WF Guardian webpage here

It’s good news that the central government body responsible for disability (the Commission for Equality and Human Rights) will be writing to the council to ‘clarify the situation’.  Perhaps people who are interested in this issue could write to that body themselves with their views? –

The council repeats its claim that works to improve disability access at St James St Library would cost too much money – but how do they know?  They have admitted breaking the law by failing to carry out any assessment of the effect on disabled people of closing the library.  They  have also admitted (for example, Lorna Lee at a recent community council) that although they repeatedly used ‘disability access’ as an excuse for closing St James, in fact they didn’t bother to work out what improvements (if any) it needed, or talk to local disabled organisations.  We have spoken to a local disability expert who said that St James St was very accessible, and met the legal requirements  – as well as the only disabled loo in the area, it had a ramp, handrails, low counters. And importantly, staff who were well trained, friendly, and always willing to help.