Socialist Worker

Marchers say Lambeth Labour's library cuts are a ‘disgrace’

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2479

Marching for libraries despite the rotten weather last Saturday

Marching for libraries despite the rotten weather last Saturday (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Over 500 people marched against library closures by Labour-run Lambeth council in south London last Saturday.

Library user Mark told Socialist Worker, “You expect it from a Tory council.

It’s a disgrace that Labour is pushing through library cuts. It’s just not in tune with what Jeremy Corbyn is arguing.”

Marchers rallied outside Brixton library in the morning.

Roger Lewis from Disabled People Against the Cuts, said, “You’re going to have to apply for all your benefits online. But many people rely on the library for internet access. The council knows this but they don’t care.

“We’re here to say that what they’re doing is wrong—and that we’re standing up to them.”

John Burgess, the Barnet Unison union branch secretary, brought solidarity with a delegation from the north London borough.

Many people new to the libraries campaign joined the march. Kim and her daughter Molly were marching for the first time. Molly said, “I go to the libraries to read and learn things.”


Kim added, “When libraries are gone, they’re gone. That’s why it’s important to march, even in the rain.”

Sally said, “There aren’t many free spaces to use.

“They’re really precious, especially if you live in a small flat with children like a lot of people around here.”

To chants of “Save Lambeth libraries”, the demonstration marched to Tate South library in Vauxhall.

Labour councillor Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member responsible for libraries, was holding a surgery there.

Workers are also looking to take action.

Tim O’Dell, the Unison libraries shop steward, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.

He said, “Two weeks ago we voted to strike if they make anyone redundant or close any libraries. We’re now waiting on the union to give us a ballot.

“The council also threatened that any worker ‘misbehaving’ on the demo would be disciplined. But we said we’d down tools immediately if that happened.”

Protest at council scrutiny committee, Tue 10 Nov, 7pm, Lilian Bayliss school, 323 Kennington Lane, SE11 5QY

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