Monday, 5 October 2015

End this wretched sniping at Barham Library volunteers

This comment by Gaynor Lloyd was submitted in response to the comments on Wembley Matters' story on the decision abut to be made by Trustees on the organisation to be granted the lease on the Barham Park Lounge.  

Having been a very early member of the Barham Library campaign and, over the last four years a long standing volunteer at the Volunteer Library currently (and for three  years) running at 428 Wembley High Road, can I just for the zillionth time clarify that Friends of Barham Library is not a covert front for the Lib Dems in Brent? I am sick, sick, sick of this wretched sniping- and mildly resentful of  the implication for all those of us who work for the Barham volunteer community library at this end of the Borough.

Can whoever is left annoyed by  us library campaigners please get over it? I would much prefer a library service delivered  throughout Brent -  as it should be -  by a properly funded Council - but that isn't where we are. Let us add to the service - please don't be mean about us. Perhaps even join us.

Start by coming to see us in  the Library premises in Wembley or Sudbury Town Station.  We have an amazing selection of books...but there is a lot more to us! For example, go and see the children's arts and crafts workshop in Sudbury Town every Saturday - full to bursting in the limited space. As to Wembley, two days this week have provided perfect examples of what happens in premises pathetically inadequate to offer true library services. I spend a lot of my time crashing about outside 428 Wembley High Road shaking a green  bucket to raise less than the Minimum wage, never mind the London Living Wage, per hour - but, in so doing, talking to many of the people who pass by on their daily round who stop to put a bit of money in  and talk about books, services , children and their lives. It's brilliant. I may get called in to the shop  to give what expertise I have on English literature, to chat or to offer my opinion on children's books.

Yesterday a family with 5 children came in looking for English dictionaries suitable for four of the children. We were able to offer 5 varying levels of dictionary and spelling primers. While there and all chatting, the children looked for fiction. Mum was clearly a bit concerned at the amount of space they have at home for the acquisition of the collection the children  amassed. We were able to say "Well just read them and bring them back".

Then there was the lad who came in with his Mum looking for project materials on Europe, who left with books on countries and a child's French dictionary; they left really chuffed promising to bring the project in when they could. Then there was the group of lads - aged around 10 or so - who passed me three times on bucket duty and finally stopped on round 4. "Is this for the library?" one asked. "Yes" I said. "I've only got 60p. Is that OK?" And in went the 60p. Many of my donors are young people. Often parents will come in and we give them a sampler book for their babies; never too young to start with books still seems to be a message that resonates. Then there are the adults seeking to improve their English, who need study books - or just come in and talk  on topics various, including literature.

It am proud to work with Paul, Francis, Judy, Alex, Frank, Peggy, Vi and the other volunteers in the heart of the community (sorry to those ranked as others). Anyone who doubts what we are there for - please call in.

I grew up with a library -what's wrong with wanting all that a modern community library can offer for our bit of the Borough?.

Then we can extend even further the range of people  who will find in a library what I did  and still do- much better put by Bernard Kops  in his poem Whitechapel Library, Aldgate East "That door of the library was the door into me"


  1. Ditto...
    High time that the correlation between:; and an offer from dedicated group of folk who are willing and able (with a proven track record); to provide the best possible substitute for withdrawn Council services!!! "Brent Connects"! Really!!!
    Gaynor for PM!

    1. Wanted: People to run Brent Council

      Applications are particularly welcome from candidates with skills in harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of local residents as this group is seriously under-represented in Brent Council.

      Oh, and Gaynor for PM nomination seconded...........

  2. Great post by Gaynor Lloyd. Passion and common-sense. Nothing beats it.

  3. Keep up the good work! We need libraries....I used Tokyington to learn English but now it is closed....

  4. Bravo Gaynor. I do find it boggling that Powney is also STILL bitching on his blog!

    1. Powney needs to recognise where he made a mistake. Thankfully he was punished.