Monday, 17 September 2012

Support Friern Barnet Library occupiers, in court Tuesday (probably)

An administrative and political vortex currently swirls around Friern Barnet Library, but the main thing is that it's open and people are borrowing books again. In this context, I like the phrases 'facts on the ground' and 'possession is 9/10 of the law'.

Barnet Council simply can't decide what best to do. They are still trying to push the idea of a community library in Friary Park. And sending senior officers to parley with the occupiers and local residents. And admitting that the much-bruited 'landmark library' at the Artsdepot is not likely to happen.

However, one fact we can't ignore is that the Council has also, simultaneously, begun eviction proceedings against the occupiers. There is an initial hearing tomorrow. If you can, please go along to the court and support Phoenix et al.

The Save Friern Barnet Library group has discussed the occupation and is now supporting it.

Here is a notice regarding the court hearing:
The council is putting through an eviction order of the gallant people who have returned our library to us, and are helping us in developing it as a community centre. The first round of this nasty game of council vs Friern Barnet is in court on Tuesday 18th at 10am - Barnet County Court, St Mary's Court, Regents Park Road, N3 1BQ (very near Finchley Central station).

Please come if you can, and show your support... This is our community. Let's protect it.
(Disclaimer: who knows, the Council might decide at the last moment not to go ahead with the eviction proceedings. So if you turn up tomorrow and it's all off, please don't blame me! Finchley is a nice area for shopping and sitting in cafes so it need not be a morning completely wasted.)

Barnet's newest blogger (last time I checked - I have been away from my computer for a whole day), Reema Patel, has an interesting blogpost in which the occupiers (who I'm no longer calling 'anarchists', because, well, I don't know that they are) lay out their position. It's an interesting read.

There were some tensions between what the occupiers initially seemed to be interesting in doing, and what the Save Friern Barnet Library group wants. From that point of view, this passage is reassuring (at least, to me!):
We are happy to announce that your library is now reopen and is lending again. It is now run on a voluntary basis; books, DVD’s, videos and tapes have kindly been donated by the local community. However, we understand that running this library effectively requires the expertise of a paid librarian so we are putting pressure on the council for reinstatement of funding.
I'm not great at the old Latin, but another phrase I like is 'deus ex machina' (God from the machine) or a bolt from the blue, which (lazy) authors introduce when their plots are going awry and they need to find something to tie up a load of loose ends.

In the saga of Friern Barnet Library, are the occupiers playing the role of deus ex machina (only, in a good way) - or are they just complicating the plot even further?

Who cares, as long as the library is lending again!

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