LAMBETHWATCH: “ANYONE IN DOUBT OF THE VALUE OF LIBRARIES, PLEASE READ THIS THREAD…….”

BOLD Defend The Ten Retweeted

Jo Franklin‏ @JoFranklin2 Jan 14: Anyone in doubt of the value of libraries, pls read this thread. You cannot put a price on this woman’s experience. Maintaining a community has little to do with making money. It is to do with creating opportunities for all to interact and be part of something. Libraries do that.

“ON THE DAY IT CLOSED I CRIED – BECAUSE OF MOBILITY ISSUES I KNEW IT WAS THE LAST PLACE I COULD MAKE IT TO ON MY OWN”

Defend The Ten‏ @defendtheten Jan 13: 15 wks until the local elections & we meet Lis: “it was so lovely going to the library. I used to call it my lifeline. On the day it closed I cried; because of mobility issues I knew it was the last place I could make it to on my own”

“‘It all started for me about six years ago when my daughter bought me a laptop, as a hobby, to learn a new skill. She suggested I join the Silver Surfers at the library & before long I was enjoying the computers, printers, wi-fi, newspapers, magazines and gallery exhibitions.

“On the day of the club a bunch of us would be so keen we would wait on the steps for the library to open!

“‘I met so many people here, sometimes we would go on to the park together. The library kept me mobile, out and about. “Back then I used to walk with just a stick.

“Then without the library there was no reason to go out and I have since had a fall so now I am housebound. I’ve lost contact with all my friends at the library and I feel I have lost the skills I learnt here too.

As for the gym in the @CarnegieLib basement Lis says “no one ever asked me if I wanted a gym. I would have said, what use is it to me!”

Even if Lis could go out alone she is not sure she would like to sit in the new proposed book room without a librarian present. She wonders if she would be safe, she would miss the librarians too “they were so helpful, if in doubt you could always ask them anything…such a good source of information”.

To have her photo taken Lis was driven the few hundred yards to the library and back. It was a challenge for her but Lis is determined to show her support for a reallibrary service at Carnegie Library with librarians in its historic main room. Thank you Lis!

Lis’s situating is sadly far from unusual – @age_uk estimates that over 1m older people say they always or often feel lonely, with nearly half of older people in the UK saying the TV or pets are their main form of company.

Closing @CarnegieLib has materially impacted Lis’s ability to have strong social networks & to avoid loneliness, isolation and all the attendant health risks these feelings can produce.

This is an entirely avoidable situation – closing it was against community wishes and, despite the Council’s claims, has not secured the future of the library as the gym provider has still not signed a contract & future profits are highly uncertain.

Lis’s case powerfully shows that, far from being a middle-class luxury, libraries directly contribute to the lives of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our communities, something we forget at our peril.

(Note: The above was posted on January 13th – by just after midday Monday it had already provoked the following responses – along with the one featured at the beginning of this piece…..Ed.)

Jax Blunt‏ @liveotherwise
Such a sad thread. And such a short sighted attitude, shutting libraries will cost more in long run as it cuts community and reduces options

Charlie Morgan‏ @piaktow Jan 14
Good thread on the importance of libraries and what is being lost with the @CarnegieLib redevelopment

Tammy Cohen‏ @MsTamarCohen Jan 14
‘I used to call it my lifeline’. This breaks my heart. Libraries are about so much more than just books.

Mumsnet Southwark‏ @MNSouthwark Jan 14
Lambeth council see how wonderful a library can be?:

(((Debi Alper)))‏ @DebiAlper Jan 14
Important thread about why we need libraries. Real ones.

Dawn Finch  📚‏ @dawnafinch Jan 14
Handing libraries over to small groups with unsustainable business models and zero experience is not “saving” them, it’s washing hands of them and shifting the blame for their eventual closure. Don’t fall for the lie. #savelibraries #mylibrarybyright

Poppy‏ @Poppy_Hasted Jan 13
The Carnegie was somewhere Herne Hillian older and disabled people could get information and help with finding local services and social groups that were specifically for us. Now we have nowhere. Give us our community hub back….

Aran Lewis‏ @aranmlewis Jan 13
This should nail the @LambethLabour lie that they are cutting the libraries budget to transfer spending to vulnerable people.

(Lines placed in bold type by News From Crystal Palace – Ed.)

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