20 Ways in which Croydon are trashing our library

Since 2005, Croydon’s track record in our library business is impressive – for all the wrong reasons. Here’s a run down.

  • The extra £30,000 allocation to UNJL by the previous Joint Committee and the then administration in Lambeth and Croydon is withheld by Croydon.
  • The Joint Committee’s request for council officers to develop a funding formula for UNJL remains in abeyance after almost one year.
  • Cllrs Hollands, Askey and Arram openly threaten and make verbal attacks on the Campaign, the public, and Lambeth Council.
  • Despite the public consistently advancing strong and cogent arguments, Croydon reject all statements outright, and issue standard stock answers to every question or point raised. They even inadvertently managed to send out a letter with the “how to deal with such and such” direction to the author of the response still embedded within the letter.
  • Croydon’s determination to persist in the teeth of hard evidence is both oppressive and reckless, and the longevity of their actions to bring about a particular line displays their intransigent attitude.
  • Misleading, incorrect and downright derogatory statements about Upper Norwood Library in the press and elsewhere from Cllr Hollands. Spurious accusations of “inefficiency” and “lacking expertise”, based on Croydon’s own biased and flawed desk-top review, are clearly aimed at misrepresenting the library in order to justify a further uncalled-for review of UNJL, which is bound to be pre-determined – or can Croydon possibly produce a review that refutes and overturns all they have been stating?
  • Croydon produces a set of Terms of Reference in respect of its proposed review that points to intentions to take control of the library themselves.
  • Cllr Hollands verbally abuses a woman and destroys Campaign literature at the June 2007 meeting of the Joint Committee, then lies openly to the Joint Committee about having apologised.
  • Croydon continually stall on providing same level funding as Lambeth Council.
  • Finally bending to pressure, at the end of Cllr Hollands’ year as Chair of the Joint Committee, Croydon allocate £60,000 on a sliding scale over a period of 3 years, beginning with £10,000. Cynically, none of the much-heralded £10,000 increase has been received.
  • But at the same time, Croydon raided the library reserves of £22,361 on a totally unsupported pretext that their accountants are incapable of justifying, thereby reversing the “generosity” and turning it into a further deficit of £12,000.
  • Thorough demoralisation of the library staff by Croydon’s intransigent stance.
  • Croydon employ bullying tactics towards the Chief Librarian.
  • Croydon attempt to wrest control of the governance of UNJL from the Joint Committee, who are largely ignored anyway, and imply changes to the lines of responsibilities with Croydon at the head.
  • Croydon speaking on behalf of Lambeth Council – unfortunately, not with a voice that accords with Lambeth’s views, nor with their agreement.
  • Croydon fail to provide a balanced political contingent on the Joint Committee. It currently comprises Cllrs Arram, Askey, Filbey and Hollands – all Conservative members – excluding local ward councillors with direct experience in UNJL.
  • Croydon have a history of being unsupportive when Conservative controlled. In the early 1980s Councillor Eddy Arram was involved in the attempt to subsume the Library into Croydon’s control. History seems to be repeating itself.
  • Croydon threatens to pull out of the Joint Agreement, leaving Lambeth Council to pick up the pieces, and the Library floundering with possible permanent closure.
  • Croydon convey just how little they care for the Croydon residents in Upper Norwood, who are being short-changed. Upper Norwood residents are paying the same council tax as elsewhere in Croydon, and yet are not receiving the equivalent service for their library as elsewhere – the total cost of the UNJL per local resident is around £12 per head, whilst the cost of the Croydon library service is more than  £24 per resident.
  • Local ward councillors fare little better. Their seats are considered of no consequence in this marginalized area of Crystal Palace, indicating that the ward councillors actually have little influence.
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