Today is National Libraries Day with the slogan
Fine if you still have a local library to use/love/join!
The Friends of Kensal Rise library and Preston Road library are organising family activites today to celebrate National Libraries Day - muffled in hats and gloves and at the pop-up library at Kensal and in a nearby local school at Preston Road. Have a look at this on the Save Preston Library site and see if you agree with Boyd Tonkin that "no local authority has behaved with quite such pig-headed arrogance in pursuit of the destruction of much-loved branches as Labour Brent".
You've probably heard the news yesterday that the Supreme Court turned down the application by the Save our Six libraries campaign for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. This means that the legal challenge to Brent's decision cannot be taken any further through the courts. But is this the end of the fight? Not at all. Spirits were high at last night's Fundraiser in aid of the campaign - the launch party of the limited edition prints designed by artist and anarchist Jamie Reid.
Local Paul Stolper who has a gallery - the Paul Stolper Gallery at 31 Museum Street, WC2 (just opposite the British Museum) generously arranged the printing of a limited edition of prints designed by Jamie Reid and the print was launched last night. It's a great design as you can see, and all proceeds support the campaign. I think there are still a few left...
How else are you going to get kisses from Jamie Reid?
We were packed in an upstairs room at the Mason's Arms with our own bar and pub food to share, listening to "One man and his Beard" and Tim Dowling playing banjo in his band "Police Dog Hogan".
Most frequently overheard
"It's the first time I've been warm for a week"
"I could have left my thermals off"
"Pass the spare ribs"
"If you believed Tim Dowling's column you'd think his band was rubbish"
"What's wrong with Brent council - you'd think they'd be pleased we want to run Kensal Rise library?"
"We'd never have kept going this long without Margaret Bailey"
"Our solicitor was brilliant - if anyone could have won the case it was him"
"MORE BANJO MORE BANJO MORE BANJO"
David Butcher gave us a brief update on the campaign including the good news - if I heard correctly - that Brent have now agreed to look at the Business Plan drawn up by the Friends of Kensal Rise library and submitted to the council in December. Read the Business Plan here.
Thanks from all of us to Rachael Newberry who organised an evening which warmed us all up - in every sense, the Mason's Arms for hosting and to David and Margaret and all the supporters, the bands for donating cds and downloadable tracks in aid of the campaign, and everyone who came along.
You'll remember that even if we had won our legal challenge in the Supreme Court the effect of that would just have been to set the decision to close the 6 libraries aside. It wouldn't have stopped Brent making the decision again, but making sure they considered everything relevant including the risk of indirect discrimination against part of the community.
As Margaret Bailey reminded us in a recent e-mail
"This campaign has always been about keeping as many options open as possible in the face of the intransigence of the council. The legal option has been one of the options we have pursued, not the only one, but one that has allowed us to focus on challenging the right of councils to make decisions that damage communities. Cuts to local authority budgets is a serious issue but an unwillingness of the council to find a solution, co-operatively, imaginatively, has made the options that we as a community are forced to consider difficult and not without risk.
We consider these options with hope and if they are not successful we look elsewhere.
We may not be given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in which case we will explore other options, and we have other options.
We believe this community needs a library and that is the end we are pursuing."
I can't put it better than that!
And here's One Man and his Beard with WE NEED LIBRARIES NEW
Buy it to support the campaign