St James St Library Campaign

Public meeting report, 28th Nov 2010
December 9, 2010, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Many thanks to everyone who turned out on a cold Sunday evening yesterday, to the St James Street Library Campaign and Blackhorse Action Group public meeting. For those who couldn’t make it, there’s a summary below. Welcome to those who added their names to our email list and are receiving their first SJSLC update.
Special thanks to all who contributed ideas and contact details for anyone who could help our campaign. For example do you have knowledge or expertise in community asset transfer or any of the other possibilities we’re researching for the building?
We would welcome any further ideas or contacts, so please email if you have any — thanks.
The meeting heard from representatives of both groups and from High Street ward councillor Clare Coghill who is supporting our campaign.
The council has ruled out reopening it as a library. But we don’t want it sold to a developer. Our plans have to be flexible, depending on what kind of access we can get to the building. The possibilities range from taking it over as a community space, to using one small part of it.
We said it’s great that Cllr Afzal Akram (the Cabinet member with responsibility for property) is now talking to us about our ideas for saving the building for the community; more details below. We believe we can get funding, or an alternative buyer/tenant. But we’ll need several months to do it. The building has been empty since 2007, so it’s only reasonable to give us a realistic deadline.
Cllr Liaquat Ali, who also represents High Street ward and is Cabinet member for Communities, was at the meeting. We asked him to use his influence, as a long-time councillor and former mayor, to get us more time to develop our plans.
Other councillors and former councillors came forward to pledge their support for our campaign, including Cllr Mahmood Hussain, Bob Wheatley and Johar Khan. The fact that we’ve kept the campaign going for over three years seems to be winning us support among the people who can make things happen.
We broke into smaller groups to discuss the skills and ideas people could offer to help us get into the building — through buying, renting, community asset transfer or as sub-tenants to a community-minded organisation.
We watched Neil’s film of the Love St James Street Library event in July. That day showed us all how much commitment and energy there is in our local community and how much we want this building back. You can also find it on YouTube:

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