St James St Library Campaign


Great news for Walthamstow!
February 20, 2011, 7:55 pm
Filed under: latest news, walthamstow

St James Street Library Campaign and local residents association Blackhorse Action Group are delighted to announce that they have together won a major grant from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

This is a huge step towards bringing St James Street Library building, in Coppermill Lane, back into community use.

NESTA’s Neighbourhood Challenge received more than 600 applications for community projects around the country. Ours was one of only 17 winners — thanks to terrific work by everyone involved, especially Alison Griffin who put many hours’ work into meeting every requirement of the application.

We plan to create a community centre in part of the library building, bringing back a welcoming space for old and young that has been deeply missed since the library closed in April 2007. The funding will bring twelve months of funding and expert support to the neighbourhood. We hope to engage the whole community, using local talents and creativity.

The closing of our library remains a real loss to our community.  Residents, library-lovers and campaigners across the borough are starting to respond to further threats to library services.  Having seen how much harm it has caused to our part of Walthamstow, the St James Street Library Campaign and BAG urge the council not to close any more libraries.

But after nearly four years of effort and campaigning — with, in recent months, backing from Cllr Clare Coghill and Stella Creasy MP and a new spirit of cooperation from the council — we have won the chance to create a new community centre.

We’ll have lots of work to do over the next 12 months, and we look forward to welcoming you as volunteers, community members, with whatever skills and enthusiasm you can share!

Soon, St James Street Library campaign wont’ be needed for that specific building anymore, but we hope to set up a network to help share experience with other library campaigns around the borough.  We don’t want to see any more libraries closed.

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Rally 12 noon Saturday 7th June – protect our libraries
June 1, 2008, 3:52 pm
Filed under: campaigning, libraries, walthamstow

flyers and poster to print off and display in your window, car, local business, tree…! Hope to see you on Saturday!

(if you can’t print but want some flyers and posters, hopefully i’ll get this sorted tomorrow!. Please do take the time to read the post below if you would like more background).



a valentine for st james library
February 7, 2008, 8:10 pm
Filed under: campaigning, library, local voices, walthamstow
A big thank-you to everyone who came and helped make Saturday’s St James
Street open-air library event another success, and a welcome to all new
supporters. To all those who publicised it, helped set it up, ran the
stalls, spent ages preparing, swapped books, donated goods, made music,
expressed your good wishes or added your names to our supporters’ list:
thanks, all of you, and we look forward to next time. Same time, same
place, outside the library in Coppermill Lane, 1 March 2008.Some people asked for leaflets to give out at other events they go to.
This is an excellent way to publicise our events, so I’ve attached a
flyer that can be printed out and copied.Many people asked if the bookswap was every Saturday. We had to tell
them it’s only the first Saturday of the month at present — but as
the weather gets better, who knows? Saturday was freezing cold, but as the
wind and rain held off it was the most comfortable event so far.
Especially for those of us who forgot to bring gloves last time but
remembered this time … And as we’ve survived deepest winter weather
already, we can hope it will be even warmer next time.

The best thing, along with being thanked so often for providing books
in a book-starved area, was the fun we had. So many interesting people,
fascinating books to browse while taking a tea break, wonderful music
(thanks, Russ and Jim) and the great feeling of community and
solidarity.

One visitor asked for audio books; can anyone get us some for next
time? A new element was the video stall, as one kind supporter donated
what must have been her whole video library – I’m delighted with picking up Lord of the Rings. I was impressed by the high
quality of books we’ve been given, too. More than one customer said the
range was better than in the dumbed-down Walthamstow Central library!
As always, lots of passers-by were excited because they thought the\u003cbr /\u003elibrary was reopening, then of course looked terribly disappointed.That always makes me feel sad. One elderly chap who used to spend a lot\u003cbr /\u003eof time browsing in the library said today \u0026quot;It gets very lonely sitting\u003cbr /\u003eat home\u0026quot;. As with all the children who coloured in Sarah\’s handmade\u003cbr /\u003eValentine\’s hearts today and stuck them on the library windows — these\u003cbr /\u003epeople deserve better and are worth campaigning for.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eYou probably know that our councillors voted last year to close St\u003cbr /\u003eJames Street to save £70,000 a year, while voting payrises for\u003cbr /\u003ethemselves totalling £230,000 a year. Though the council claimed they\u003cbr /\u003ehad been underpaid before, they were in fact paid pretty much the\u003cbr /\u003eLondon average. If you want to ask them to reopen the library, you can\u003cbr /\u003econtact the three local councillors for this (High Street) ward:\u003cbr /\u003e\u003ca onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\” href\u003d\”mailto:cllr.liaquat.ali@walthamforest.gov.uk\”\u003ecllr.liaquat.ali@walthamforest\u003cwbr /\u003e.gov.uk\u003c/a\u003e (Labour)\u003cbr /\u003eCllr.James.O\’\u003ca onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\” href\u003d\”mailto:Rourke@walthamforest.gov.uk\”\u003eRourke@walthamforest.gov.uk\u003c/a\u003e (Lib Dem),\u003cbr /\u003e\u003ca onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\” href\u003d\”mailto:cllr.johar.khan@walthamforest.gov.uk\”\u003ecllr.johar.khan@walthamforest\u003cwbr /\u003e.gov.uk\u003c/a\u003e (Lib Dem)\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eor Clyde Loakes, the leader of the council, at\u003cbr /\u003e\u003ca onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\” href\u003d\”mailto:leader@walthamforest.gov.uk\”\u003eleader@walthamforest.gov.uk\u003c/a\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eor find councillors for other wards at\u003cbr /\u003e\u003ca onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\” href\u003d\”http://www1.walthamforest.gov.uk/moderngov/\” target\u003d_blank\u003ehttp://www1.walthamforest.gov\u003cwbr /\u003e.uk/moderngov/\u003c/a\u003e\u003cbr /\u003emgMemberIndex.asp?FN\u003dPARTY\u0026amp;VW\u003dLIST\u0026amp;J\u003d1\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eDo contact us if you have any thoughts or questions. Looking forward to\u003cbr /\u003eseeing you next time,\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eAll best wishes,\u003cbr /\u003e\u003c/div\u003e”,1] ); //–>
As always, lots of passers-by were excited because they thought the
library was reopening, then of course looked terribly disappointed.
That always makes me feel sad. One elderly chap who used to spend a lot
of time browsing in the library said today “It gets very lonely sitting
at home”. As with all the children who coloured in our handmade
Valentine’s hearts today and stuck them on the library windows — these
people deserve better and are worth campaigning for.

You probably know that our councillors voted last year to close St
James Street to save £70,000 a year, while voting payrises for
themselves totalling £230,000 a year. Though the council claimed they
had been underpaid before, they were in fact paid pretty much the
London average. If you want to ask them to reopen the library, you can
contact the three local councillors for this (High Street) ward:
cllr.liaquat.ali@walthamforest.gov.uk (Labour)
Cllr.James.O’Rourke@walthamforest.gov.uk (Lib Dem),
cllr.johar.khan@walthamforest.gov.uk (Lib Dem)

or Clyde Loakes, the leader of the council, at
leader@walthamforest.gov.uk

or find councillors for other wards here

Do contact us if you have any thoughts or questions. Looking forward to
seeing you next time!




ding dong merrily on high…(updated)
December 14, 2007, 12:41 pm
Filed under: campaigning, libraries, walthamstow

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!



Carols not Cuts Wednesday 12th Dec!
December 11, 2007, 6:29 pm
Filed under: campaigning, walthamstow

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…



tell council to budget now to re-open st james st
December 3, 2007, 8:14 pm
Filed under: campaigning, libraries, local voices, walthamstow

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!!!



St James Library scandal hits national newspaper!
December 1, 2007, 6:43 pm
Filed under: campaigning, libraries, press coverage, walthamstow

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!)