Exactly a year since the occupation and liberation of Friern Barnet Library, there will be an amazing anniversary celebration next Thursday, 5th September 7pm.
There will be a preview of the book Barnet Library - Occupied and Opened, edited by Rosie Canning with contributions by Pete Phoenix, Reema Patel, Richard Stein, Sarah Sackman, Mike Gee and many more. Several authors will be coming in to read their work.
Posters, pre-order forms, art work and printouts will be available.The book features the community voices and community spirit that went into saving the Friern Barnet Library. We look forward to seeing you there.Recently I helped a friend with some research for his librarianship Masters degree. He was investigating the extent to which campaigns such as that waged at Friern Barnet Library chimed in with David Cameron and the Tories' 'Big Society' rhetoric.
My friend is from Sheffield. The campaign to defend libaries in that city - SCALP - was a bit quiet - mainly because they haven't announced any big library cuts yet! But I was able to put him in touch with some people involved in the successful campaign to save Friern Barnet Library, and I contributed my own views.
Hand on heart, I could say that the FBL campaigns and those like it fly in the face of Big Society notions. They are, first and foremost, about saving threatened public amenities for the public and, as far as possible, keeping them as part of an integrated, publicly accountable service.
That being the case, I am absolutely delighted to see this petition on the Barnet Council website, text:
We petition Barnet Council to grant Friern Barnet Community Library security of tenure through a longer lease before May 2014.
The library has only been given a two year lease. A number of community libraries across the UK are already operating on leases as long as 25 years.
A lease of 21 years would take Friern Barnet Community Library up to its centenary in 2034.Signed by prominent Labour councillors in Barnet, as well as community campaigners for the library, I take this petition as a commitment from the Barnet Labour group to re-integrate Friern Barnet Library back into Barnet Libraries should it win the council back from the Tories in May 2014. That is a very welcome commitment as far as I am concern.
We also petition Barnet Council to recognise Friern Barnet Community Library in its publications as a part of the network of Barnet Libraries, and to recognise the library as a part of its inter-library network.
And I do hope that Labour will have the courage and conviction to go all out to win the Council as I think it is there for the taking!