Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The People's Library

Local residents and a group of activists from Occupy London, who took over the empty Friern Barnet Library a few weeks ago, have already filled its shelves to overflowing with books donated by supporters. The newly restocked People's Library and community hub is open six days a week and hosts a range of events for children and adults, as well as running a trust-based book-lending service.

A court hearing in December will determine whether Barnet Council can evict the community librarians and sell off the building as part of its One Barnet £1 billion outsourcing programme. Until then, at least, volunteers and users have an opportunity to demonstrate how such a service might operate without local government support. A couple of months is one thing, but it's hard to see how it can survive in the long term without a regular source of income. In the meantime, it's a great advert for community solidarity and co-operative action. More pictures here (and more to follow).

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