WE SAVED OUR LIBRARIES! I'm delighted to tell you all that, under pressure of our campaign, Tower Hamlets Council has thought again. At its Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a new proposal was put forward, as an alternative to cutting and closing libraries. As a result, Cubitt Town library will not be sold, but along with Bethnal Green library and Watney Street Idea Store, will now have more, not fewer, opening hours. This is a fantastic victory, in which you have played a part. Thank you. There are still lots of cuts to vital public services being made and the decision on our libraries will be reviewed in 18 months, so our celebrations will be muted. But celebrate we should! It shows, once again, that when people get angry and organised, we can win.
To: Tower Hamlets Council
Save our Libraries in Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets Council must remove the threats to close Cubitt Town library and severely reduce the hours at others, including Bethnal Green and Watney Street. The cuts also put 35 jobs at risk.
Why is this important?
Tower Hamlets Council seems to think libraries are a thing of the past. When I talked to my 10 year-old granddaughter about this recently. She was shocked when I told her Bethnal Green library is under threat. Before COVID, she used to go there regularly with her school, as her mum did before her. She says children need real libraries and real books.
Libraries are vital to the future of our community, now more than ever. Many people don't have access to the internet, or space to do homework and not everyone wants to read a book on a screen. Our libraries also play a vital social role, for children, schools, older people or those who are isolated or lonely.
COVID has also reminded us that not all children have access to remote learning. That's compounded in Tower Hamlets, where hundreds of children live in cramped, overcrowded homes.
Tower Hamlets Council should join with other local authorities to demand the government provides the money to keep our libraries open.