Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ann John's last day in office - Kensal Rise Library ransacked

From Brent Liberal Democrats LINK

Councillor Ann John’s final day in office as Council Leader has been marked by Brent Council attempting to remove books and computers from the historic Kensal Rise library, so that the council can get ride of the building.

Liberal Democrat council group leader Paul Lorber, who joined protesters outside the ransacked library, said:
This is a kick in the teeth for local residents, who have demonstrated their opposition to Labour’s library closure plan at every opportunity.
It would have been appropriate to pause the process until library campaigners had a chance to meet the new council leader, Muhammed Butt. Inevitably this will lead to speculation that Ann John and libraries portfolio holder James Powney wanted to empty the library and get rid of the building quickly to make any change in policy as difficult as possible.
Despite explicit assurances from All Souls College that it was open to the idea of members of the community providing library services at Kensal Rise library, Labour councillors have up to now been determined to see the end of book borrowing at Kensal Rise and rejected the well thought out bid from local residents to run the library at no cost to the council. Because of restrictions imposed when the land was donated, the building valued at £772,034 will transfer to All Souls College for free.

Sarah Teather, Member of Parliament for Brent Central, has expressed her disappointment at Brent Council’s decision to clear Kensal Rise Library building of books and IT equipment today.
Commenting, Ms Teather said:
This is another sad day for Brent’s libraries. Campaigners have tried to work with officials to keep Kensal Rise library open, but have been ignored at every turn.
Labour leaders need to remember who they are supposed to be working for.  They must stop removing books immediately and talk to campaigners and local residents before it’s too late.
Councillor Butt has to get a grip of this matter if he wants to show that he can make a difference as Leader of the Council.
Kensal Rise library was erected on land provided by All Souls College Oxford using funds contributed by Willesden Urban District Council taxpayers, a donation from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and public donations. The terms of the land transfer meant that the land could be used to provide libraries for ever for the benefit of local people.

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