This morning a letter was hand-delivered to my home. This is the second time I have received a letter from this gentleman, someone I have never met, both times hand-delivered, both times about Carnegie Library. I don’t know how he has my address.
The letter is in response to this blog, posted 6 days ago, in relation to the situation of the Carnegie Library and the other libraries in Lambeth, the concern of local people resulting in a 2000-strong march yesterday.
In the letter (as well as asserting that those of us protesting the libraries’ closures are ‘attention seekers’), the gentleman suggests that I have publicly demonised those who do not think the same as I do.
- I did not publicly name anyone in the blog
- I do not believe that saying ‘I believe this’ is demonising
- in the post he is offended by, I am talking about the community of those protesting the library closures. Obviously he and his colleagues are not part of that community, as they are not protesting the closures.
- the blog in question has been read by less than 1000 people, clearly he assumes I have a far wider reach than I do.
- I have not engaged in or seen the personal demonisation of councillors he alleges, I have however, seen Lambeth councillors block people on twitter for asking genuine questions about the closures, seen other Lambeth councillors speak out about the unfortunate way this whole matter has been handled, and seen Lambeth councillors accuse those protesting about libraries’ closures of not caring about other vital social services.
I do acknowledge, given the many years of service he cites, that the gentleman clearly perceives himself to be part of the Herne Hill community, regardless of views on the library closure and occupation, and therefore of course I am sorry he feels my blog excludes him from this community. I would never want to intentionally offend a neighbour – anyone – whether I know them or not. (Incidentally, I live in Loughborough Junction, also served by Carnegie and Minet libraries until their closure by Lambeth Council a week ago.)
Obviously I am not the only local person who believes that the Carnegie Community Trust does not represent the community – this is stated clearly in the #CarnegieOccupation demands. I do however wonder, how many others who have spoken up have received a personal letter, hand-delivered to their own home, on a Sunday morning, by someone they have never met, who somehow has their address.
Further, the Friends of Carnegie Library passed a vote of no confidence in the Carnegie Community Trust at the 2016 AGM, stating “They are not a community organisation but a self-appointed group who do not represent or engage with any community groups. This passed by a large majority, the only votes opposed being from the two Trust members present.”
Here is Sara Bredemear’s witness statement from Friday’s court appearance, a document that has been made public, stating the reasons behind the Carnegie Occupation. You will see on page 3 that the statement deals with the Community Trust – and the mistrust between them and other local organisations who protest the libraries’ closures and transfers.
There are some stunning images of yesterday’s protest and march here. I am proud to have been part of it.
I attach a pdf of the letter I received today here, with a request to Carnegie Community Trust that they no longer hand-deliver anything direct to my home. I have blanked his name and address to offer him the privacy that the Community Trust have not afforded me.
I was shaky and upset on receiving this letter, especially as it was hand-delivered by a stranger, to my own home. Now, I simply feel more determined to support my neighbours and community against Lambeth’s library closures. And I’m going to get back to work – Sundays are writing days for me – and libraries also need books.