Recent Upper Norwood Library Campaign Activity
The campaign has been building awareness of the dire threat to the future existence of our local library which has been going for 112 years. It has been uniquely jointly funded by Croydon and Lambeth but Croydon has now said it does not want to fund the library
Over the last few weeks we have seen great momentum as the Campaign harnesses the power of the thousands of supporters on the mailing list. We have received great support from Siobhan Benita, the independent London Mayoral Candidate and Brian Paddick, the LibDem Candidate, both visited the library and were quite vociferous in not only their support of the library but also the adoption of our Library model elsewhere in London.
The local GLA hustings on 26 April saw all local GLA councillors wanting to save Upper Norwood Library amongst them was Val Shawcross who is a long term supporter of our campaign. Monday 30 April also saw shadow Education secretary Stephen Twigg visit the library in his drive to increase literacy.
The campaign has also received positive comments on London Mayoral election debate on LBC Radio on 19 April and then again on the The Robert Elms Weekend Londoner show on Radio London.
We have seen a great increase in numbers of Twitter and Facebook followers and an increase in numbers of supporters signing the Petition form. Many other web sites are cascading our information or retweeting, for instance Inside Croydon have escalated the issue of Croydon asking Brian Paddick to leave the Library.
The Campaign team continue to collect support and signatures most Saturday’s outside Sainsbury’s in Westow Street, we are utilising the ever increasing number of email addresses to send out 3000 emails, to generate awareness of the consultation process and deadlines, publicise our social networks and encourage over 120 supporters to email their councillors and MPs. We have also used this channel to promote Siobhan Benita’s visit with the media to the library on 19 May at Midday.
The campaign group is convinced that it should focus its attention on persuading Croydon to continue to fund the library. In order to inform and mobilise supporters of our cause we have organised stalls outside the library, Sainsbury’s and at Sell It Mama and have built up a database of close to 3000 supporters. We have also grown Facebook Group Followers and Twitter followers as a rapid means of communication.
We have produced and distributed two high profile poster campaigns with a call to arms. At the same time we have been mobilising the local schools. With particularly strong support from Rockmount, Cyprus, All Saints and Harris. Local children have written to Cllr Fisher, the Conservative leader of Croydon council which has appeared in local media. Harris Academy (Crystal Palace) also chose to do a report on the library for BBC School Reports. Parents, children and teachers are clearly deeply concerned about the impact that the loss of such a key community hub would have upon literacy and education and also on the deleterious effect it would have upon youth provision in the area.
Croydon TV and the Media Trust have both produced videos which have broadcast our cause. We have also lobbied local businesses who have been enthusiastic in support of the library as a means to maintain and increase foot flow and spend within the Triangle. Following our lobbying the next issue of the local community’s magazine The Transmitter will be book themed with a major focus on plight of our Library, its past history and what needs to be done to ensure it has a future.
Our PR effort has resulted in a number of stories appearing in the Evening Standard, Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian. One of our most successful coups was to pack out the Croydon Council chamber and ambush proceedings with an attention grabbing flashmob where we made a plea for our library in the unusual medium of song and unfurled a large banner. The council were surprised by the approach and made particular reference to the number of children who turned up to save their library. This received coverage in the local press and Croydon TV.
We have also been garnering celebrity support with local comedians from Mark Steel, Daniel Kitson and local actress Nadia Sawahla all lending their support which recently got local press coverage. Labour MPs Malcolm Wicks and Tessa Jowell are backing us too. We are now working on strategies to attract the attention of the national press, Government and the GLA and London Mayor.
With Croydon now issuing its consultation document we are now entering a crucial phase of the campaign. We need to project a motivated, mobilised community with a unified goal of ensuring the continued existence of the library for another 112 years.