Carnegie Library protest, Herne Hill

(Article by JA, Citizen Journalist, as Beaulieu Away).

Hundreds of people continued to protest today, in response to the closure of the Carnegie Community Library.

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One man, Edward Ochagavia, brought in several chess sets because the Chess Club was made homeless. He ran the club for sixteen years and had 170 children in the club ‘Where to move it? I’m moving it into the street’. On closing the library, he said  ‘it is so stupid, that they need to start playing chess, then  start thinking about it.”

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One man who was occupying the library, Pete,  said,  ‘We’re here for as long as necessary. We’ve got to change this decision. Vote Green 2016 – There is an alternative to the Labour councillors we’ve got here. We need to send a message on May 5th to Labour. One Green councillor, Scott Ainslie, has achieved so much across Lambeth. Just imagine what a council full of Greens could do.   Other speakers who attended today supported Labour, but were appalled at the closure.

An author said, “when my mum was pregnant with me, and she had trouble in her life, this was her place of refuge. It is the only place in town where you’re not obliged to pay for a flavoured hot drink.”

Another, a  Unison union rep, said, ‘How is it that, during the A levels, you  decided to shut two of the most important libraries in the Borough? Sadiq Khan completely refused to engage, even though there are libraries closing across London so it is a London-wide issue.We collected 15,000 signatures on petitions, they just ignored it, they don’t care. This is a message that we care”.

One of the librarians, Tom, from the  Carnegie Library, said, ‘This can be the start of the fight back,  that the hundred planned libraries do not have to close.  Let’s do this till we win. Another librarian, Caroline, said, “I recognise each and every one of their faces, because they are our users and I am so proud of you”.

“Twenty-seven years, my family have used this library so much. Once we lose our libraries, they’re gone” said a local resident.

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