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March for Lambeth libraries as new strikes loom

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Issue 2494
Marching to defend Lambeth’s ten libraries last Saturday
Marching to defend Lambeth’s ten libraries last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The battle against library cuts in the Labour-run south London borough of Lambeth is hotting up.

A 500-strong demonstration last Saturday kept up the defence of the borough’s ten libraries—and new strikes are coming.

The libraries would either close or turn into gyms under the Labour council’s plans.

Unison union library rep (pc) Tim told Socialist Worker, “We’re planning to strike again on 17 March, and want to escalate to two days the following week.

“We’ll use our power to stop these library cuts.” 

Workers walked out unofficially last year and struck again last month.

Lambeth Unison branch is also set to begin consulting its whole council membership over strikes from 14 March.

Council leaders are under pressure from a widespread community campaign. Local library campaign groups have united across the borough.

Claire said, “Libraries are an important social space. I go to the Carnegie Library every Friday morning with my two year old toddler.”

Michaela from the West Norwood campaign group, added, “The councillors think libraries are just a selection of books.

“They don’t understand that they’re a lifeline for families that don’t have money.”

Ella, who is “only just 11”, asked the rally on Saturday, “What will happen when the libraries are gone? Where will we get our knowledge from?”

Writer and local resident Will Self attacked the council’s plan for gyms for “well-toned banker wankers cycling to nowhere”.

Claire said, “We’re prepared to do anything it takes to defend our local library.”

Michaela argued that campaigners must step up their action as library workers have.

“When they come to lock the doors we are going to sit in and refuse to go.”

Send solidarity messages to [email protected] 

Send donations payable to Lambeth Unison c/o Unison, 1st floor, International House, Canterbury Crescent, London, SW9 7QE.

Gallery of photos from the demonstration at

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