Author Stella Duffy OBE has slammed Herne Hill Labour party for their “sheer gall” over its latest leaflet on the Carnegie library

The leaflet states: “The Herne Hill Labour action team  has worked hard alongside local residents to ensure that, despite deep Conservative cuts to the council’s budget,  there is a secure long-term future for the library…..

“The building will also move to community ownership with the council continuing to run the library.”

The leaflet includes a comment from ward Cllr Jim ‘Gym’ Dickson which says: “I would like to thank residents who have worked with us to secure the future of the Carnegie.”

The leaflet features a photo of the three Labour candidates for the forthcoming May elections – Jim Dickson, Jack Holborn and Pauline George alongside someone wearing a ‘Better’ (Greenwich Leisure) jersey – but no local residents or library users.

Stella Duffy‏ @stellduffy Tweeted:

Astonished at the sheer gall of @LambethLabour delivering this when all locals know that #CarnegieLibrary was ‘re-opened’ without full disabled access. Instead of, you know, leaving as it was – loved, useful, used. @defendtheten

The leaflet has prompted the inevitable barrage of criticism on social media:

sarabredemear‏ @sarabredemear

Simply untrue. @GLL_UK staff will not help issue books nor with IT. Book stock @CarnegieLib is visibly smaller than before. Councillors have worked only with a small group of people they can control. On Mother’s Day too. Pah.

Rachel Heywood‏ @cllrheywood 23h23 hours ago (in response to unknown tweet)

Your opinion: my point was that @brixtongreen along with all those other groups, and many more, are working much harder 2 represent communities than the council is. Local plans for libraries, homes, parks, town centres, businesses are ignored in favour of narrow centrist policy.

Defend The Ten Retweeted Senaka‏ @senakaweeraman Replying to @cllrheywood @defendtheten and others

It’s a @lambeth_council #winwin if people don’t use the library as they used to, its unviable & gets converted into a @GLL_UK gym. The ones who do are gradually constricted & strangled. It’s opened as @LambethLabour promised – but many of their voters will never set foot inside!

Friends of Carnegie‏ @FrndsofCarnegie Retweeted Aran Lewis

And how much is being paid to populate @CarnegieLib with security staff and @GLL_UK ‘customer care’ staff instead of library staff? GET THEM OUT AND GET FULL TIME LIBRARY STAFF BACK IN, and we can start rebuilding the service.

Friends of Carnegie Retweeted Kim Lewis‏ @Kim_hLewis Replying to @sarabredemear @GLL_UK and others

Very nice @GLL_UK customer services woman no idea if next Wednesday’s 1.30 Wriggle & Rhyme cancelled due to concrete pouring(?!). Said librarians rarely there, politely directed me to the phone. Rang and rang. Recorded message. Gave up. @helenhayes_ @JimDicksLambeth REALITY:

Defend The Ten Retweeted Suman‏ @A_Holmesian Replying to @lswaffield1 @brixtonbuzz

Unsurprisingly @lambeth_council don’t like ballots! They’d much rather talk to their mates & call them ‘informal conversations’, much like the v v limited ‘exhibitions’ on @CarnegieLib mysteriously – hey presto! – became ‘consultations’ after the fact.

Defend The Ten Retweeted ReadersGroup‏ @StreathamComics  Replying to @cllrheywood @stellduffy and others

It doesn’t actually seem as if #Lambeth is intent on making libraries a welcoming experience. I’ve noticed, despite the new security guards, library staff follow new guidelines on disruptions & assaults, letting users sort out things for themselves.

Defend The Ten Retweeted Rachel Heywood‏ @cllrheywood  (Ind Lab Coldharbour) Retweeted Stella Duffy

Quite. And with advertised closures on certain days because of “scheduled concrete pouring” and no emergency exits. Oh, and the toilets are broken. @defendtheten @SaveLambthLibs @FrndsofCarnegie

Defend The Ten Retweeted Becki Newell‏ @BexLDN Retweeted Rae Stoltenkamp

Voices of library users get conveniently drowned out by Lambeth council’s PR machine. ‘We are fighting to keep your libraries open’ they say. ‘You’re sucking the soul out of our libraries’, say the community. I know who I would rather listen to.

Rae Stoltenkamp‏ @Raedenewrites

On the #blog right now @defendtheten @FrndsofCarnegie – my reaction to a visit to @CarnegieLib this morning. One word – heartbroken

Wasim‏ @rebel_starman Retweeted Rae Stoltenkamp

Really?! This is outrageous considering the council spent more money on security it’s closed. They ruined what was a fine, well-heated and is disabled-acess library it was prior to this mess

Defend The Ten Retweeted Suzie Robertson‏ @Suzie_Robs 15h15 hours ago Replying to @stellduffy @LambethLabour @defendtheten

“A gym in the previously unused basement” OUTRIGHT LIE!!! The basement used to house the stock for the mobile library!

Defend The Ten Retweeted Poppy‏ @Poppy_Hasted Replying to @stellduffy @FrndsofCarnegie and 2 others

Precisely what refurbishing has happened? New stock? More books? Carpeting and comfy chairs? Beanbags for the kids? Paint job? Longer opening hours? More staff? Coffee machine? Tell us @LambethLabour
To which Friends of Carnegie Retweeted Laura Swaffield‏ @lswaffield1 Retweeted Poppy

Be fair: Lambeth has spent £3m+ (so far) making library smaller; removing heating, disabled access & toilets; destroying garden; installing useless gym that won’t pay rent; repairing the water damage it caused itself when library closed.

James E. Baldwin‏ @james_e_baldwin Replying to @stellduffy @FrndsofCarnegie and 2 others

Also it’s only temporarily in main room, and is due to move to much smaller room just after the council elections. So whatever refurbishment you see there now is not for the library.

Defend The Ten Retweeted Andy Plant‏ @andyplant08 Mar 12

If there are no emergency exits, then @lambeth_council are (again) violating H & S regs. Functioning emergency exits are a requirement for any public or commercial building. Lambeth Council is risking lives, in order to burnish the reps of Herne Hill cllrs. #expose_the_sham

Defend The Ten Retweeted Michael Rosen‏ @MichaelRosenYes

I hear about schools that can’t afford to buy books. With libraries closing It guarantees that the only children who can acquire the linguistic, cognitive, literary, cultural benefits from browsing,choosing,reading widely and often are those from homes who buy books. #Progress



Defend The Ten Retweeted Kim Lewis‏ @Kim_hLewis

That’s the only notification I’ve had about EVEN MORE NOISE AND DISTURBANCE coming my way! @FrndsofCarnegie @defendtheten

Defend The Ten‏ @defendtheten

“Due to scheduled concrete pouring the library will not open until 3pm on these days” – more Lambeth library absurdity with the latest notice @CarnegieLib. H/t @C_Bactrian

Janet – Brixton Hill‏ @1isthinking Retweeted Defend The Ten

Well, @lambeth_council have to bury the truth somewhere.

Rachel Heywood @cllrheywood Retweeted Defend The Ten

Anything we’d like to bury whilst there’s a chance?



Cynics will wonder why Lambeth council are bothering to produce a report to its Labour-only cabinet highlighting how they have allegedly spent £55 million in four years on cycling (and air quality improvement – but it’s the cycling message they want to get across).

Perhaps they’re worried by the Green party’s threat to them in some wards at the council elections in May……….


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