Siobhan Benita visits Upper Norwood Library

Siobhan Benita London librariesSiobhan Benita, independent London Mayoral candidate, has a manifesto that includes a library policy that would see all London libraries run by the London Mayor and the GLA.

With this library policy in mind, Upper Norwood Library Campaign invited Siobhan Benita to lend her support to the  Campaign, after all…. she is independent” and the library has been unique and independent for all of its 112 years. Besides, the Upper Norwood (Crystal Palace) Library Campaign has always remained a steadfastly local group with no political alignment, and have always sought a pragmatic solution that recognizes both the incredible role that the library plays in the community, and the amazing value for money that the library model offers local residents and taxpayers.

Crystal Palace welcome Siobhan Benita’s support

Siobhan Benita brought with her a number of members of the press that included a correspondent from the New York Times, all of whom were naturally welcomed with open arms, as the campaign team have been trying a multitude of avenues to highlight Upper Norwood Library’s plight for a good many years. Anyway, Siobhan was greeted by one of the “Waggle and Hum” mothers and toddlers reading groups and a packed audience of local residents, and spent the first 20 minutes chatting with Crystal Palace residents about the library. Many of the elderly and infirm were particularly pleased to be able to air their views, as were local traders who are incensed about the potential loss of income if 1000 people stop visiting the library and high street each day.

Libraries, Literacy, Education & Youth

Siobhan took the opportunity to talk to the crowd about her manifesto and how libraries and literacy were so importantLondon Mayor? Siobhan Benita and fundamental to her policy for education and her policy for youth, that includes donating a third of her salary (if elected!) to a youth mayor. Benita spoke with knowledge about the campaign and expressed deep concerns that a library; which boasts 44% of local residents as members, and that is run at half the cost of libraries in most other London boroughs, is in grave danger of closing. She also pinpointed the irony of the original “Big society” independent, community run library being under threat.

Tweets, Retweets and Media

Thanks to the support of Ms Benita, the Upper Norwood Library campaign had reached a massive audience within 1 day of her visit via tweets, retweets, LBC radio coverage and many examples of the story being replicated and cascaded to the masses.

London library services based on the Upper Norwood Model?

Siobhan Benita heard from other Croydon residents about their decimated library services  and showed her dismay at Croydon and Wandsworth Council’s decision to outsource library services, particularly without due consideration of a library service based upon the Upper Norwood model. Benita said that her manifesto to run all library services centrally would safeguard and strengthen the library’s role in the community, eliminate the cross-party / cross-council disputes and look to libraries such as Upper Norwood’s as the blueprint for all libraries.

Take action- it could hit your services next

If you feel as strongly as Siobhan Benita about Upper Norwood Library, if your library services are being hollowed out or cut, or, if you agree that public sector outsourcing should always consider the merits of a best-practice “in-house” option, then please sign this petition, follow us on twitter and be a friend on facebook. If you are local then please please also sign the e-consultation document