Attend all election hustings meetings in Lambeth – and be prepared to ask questions.
That was the message from TWO separate meetings last week.
At the annual meeting of Carnegie Library Association Defend the Ten campaigner Michaela Loebner said: “Don’t let the councillors off the hook”.
She said all candidates will be asked to take the pledge – and pledge their support for a five-point library plan, details of which will be made public next Tuesday afternoon (April 3rd) outside the Carnegie library, Herne Hill at 4pm. (April 3 marks two years since the Carnegie Library doors were closed).
And on Saturday at the People’s Audit Lambeth’s conference, as well as calling for people to ask questions, delegates were asked to support each others campaigns and create a “network of dissent.”
At the People’s Audit meeting people broke into separate groups to come up with ideas – and questions.
Ideas from these groups included:
A website to start putting together all the various material.
Addressing issues of democracy in Lambeth.
A voluntary organisation across Lambeth to take the council to task – as well as an independent tenants movement.
Sharing facts, information and expertise – and learn about making Freedom of Information requests AND how to use info gleaned from answers.
Tactical voting (“Labour aren’t going to lose their majority but we must do our best to get anyone elected but Labour” said one person. “Who is most likely to be successful in each ward?”)
More press coverage.
An ‘easy read’ version of what Lambeth council are doing wrong (“It would be very long” said one person)
Trumpeting residents successes like the dropping of the garden bridge plans.
Highlighting how Lambeth would have saved money if they had kept libraries open. (“But they spent £10 million b******** them up”.)
Working with business groups such as Shell, ITV, IBM.
Keeping an audit of repairs (tenants don’t get to see repairs data).
Comments included: “It’s our money they’re spending – it’s not money that’s been given to them.”
And questions posed included: Why can’t we ask the Labour party’s national executive committee to ask what’s going on in Lambeth?
FRIENDS OF CARNEGIE LIBRARY
Rachel Heywood @cllrheywood Tweeted: Very sad to hear that both chair Jeff Doorn and Treasurer Bob Goodrick (right) are both standing down from their roles @FrndsofCarnegie Committee. They’ve served long terms, done huge amounts of work, and it hasn’t been easy, at all. Thank you.
Opening the annual meeting of the Friends of Carnegie Library retiring chairman Jeff Doorn told members: “This marks the start of our 20th year – and our second year in exile.
“But we are still here organising events and activities. “We won’t accept anything less than a fully run professional library service at the Carnegie for all.
“The exiled clubs and groups have continued where possible. “Ruskin Readers have had no help whatsoever from Lambeth council. “The monthly book group are meeting in St Saviour’s.” (where the Friends annual meeting was held.).
Bob Goodrick said he would be standing down as treasurer. “I’ve enjoyed doing the job. “It’s been a bit hairy on occasions. “I wish my replacement the best of luck.” Bob, who will remain on the committee, added “Thank you for letting me stay” to lengthy applause.
Laura Swaffield, who chairs FOLL (Friends of Lambeth Libraries) thanked Jeff Doorn.
“He’s done wonderful things for the Friends year after year. “The constant stream of bright ideas that have come from him are impressive. “We need to properly recognise that some day.”.
New chairman of the Friends is Stephen Carlill.
CARNEGIE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
The annual meeting of the Carnegie Library Association – the unsuccessful bidder to run the library – followed.
Stephen Carlill said the permanent planning permission for the library did not reserve any space for a library. “It merely says there will be a library function.”
And he suspected the word ‘community’ in the planned community cafe for the library means it will be staffed by volunteers.
Steve Freeman of Lambeth Democracy said the new organisation would be campaigning for democracy in Lambeth. “If we find any we’ll let you know” he added to laughter.
He said the coming May election was the point where politicians suddenly become interested in you. “It’s the one minute people have every four years.”
He said that if people voted for Herne Hill ward Cllr Jim Dickson (Lab) and he got a good vote Cllr Dickson would turn round and say ‘People are supporting what we have done’.
“We need to make sure they do not get that oxygen of publicity that they desperately need.”
Michaela Loebner said the strength of the people using the library was as high as ever. “We should all be proud of that. “It’s costing them more than it would have cost them to have proper libraries.”
Revealing details of the plan to ask every candidate to sign up to their Lambeth libraries pledge she added: “I think I know what Cllr Jim Dickson’s answer is.”