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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A spokesman from LBH was quoted tonight on a short BBC News report on the imminent closure of Marcus Garvey Library in Tottenham: 

"Haringey Council Statement: We're very disappointed that a £3million investment to revamp and modernise one of our most popular libraries has been misrepresented. The refurbishment of the library will see it enhanced with new books and equipment, as well as additional services."

You can watch the bulletin on youtube, here: [ MGL on the news]

This is the library that is being halved in size as they cram in most of the Customer Services from Apex House.  Most of the books are being sold off or binned, including the much respected Black Triangle collection on Black history. The Young Adult section will be scrapped. The little children's garden will be trampled into nothing. It will be closed for at least six months, and their 'alternative provision'? a list of other libraries. The computer access, often so busy it has to be shared, will just not be there for the thousands of regular users. There was no consultation. 

There is no way this work ('revamp and modernise') would be happening if the council had not sold the Apex House site to developer Grainger for £3.4million, necessitating its demolition. They obviously did not think through where to put the services, they were hoping it could all go online. There was some stumbling about last summer till they settled on MGL. The original plans claimed it would take 20% of 'wasted space' (ie the exhibition area) in the library, now it's a whole floor.   That £3.4million (which did not go to tender, for near half a hectare of land next to the best tube line in London) does not cover the cost of 'revamping' MGL and the Wood Green Library which is also absorbing some overspill, £3million and £2million respectively.

Oh and the librarians are having to apply for their own jobs, being redefined as 'information providers'. 

If LBH would just be more honest it would help a tiny bit.  But to throw it back at us is a heap of nonsense, even by the LBH spin department's notorious standards.  Such a ridiculous smear makes them look worse. Cllr Arthur is on holiday, so can we get a name, Mx Spokesperson? 

Support the Campaign to stop these proposals here:
Sign the Petition here: https://www.change.org/p/tell-haringey-council-to-save-tottenham-s-...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1527639460848841/?fref=nf
Twitter: #SaveMarcusGarveyLibrary
Email:  friendsofmgl@gmail.com  (NOTE corrected email on 17.8.15)

and to see some of the removed books, check the tumblr page: http://friendsofmgl.tumblr.com/


[Edit - xref to a later post about the leap from the proposals nodded through cabinet in March, to the reality being enacted now.]


Planning documents here, for changing the back door. Thassall.

Tags for Forum Posts: apex house, cuts, library, marcus garvey, smear, spin

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Plainly it's important that campaigners present the facts as accurately as possible. (We can always rely on Haringey Council for an endless supply of Newspeak and Spin.)

I suggest JJ, that you might want to have a word with Jasmin Taylor, who Chairs the Campaign Group. I have her contact details. Direct message me if you need them.

The Save group's tumblr shows scans of dozens of the books that have been sold at four to the pound. If they can find replacement in-print copies of some of these, I will eat my ex-bookseller's hat. 

Thanks Pamish.
I will follow this up now.

When asked about the sold books, the answers seem to contain a confusion between different types of books in the library - we've been told books weren't borrowed much - no, because they were the type of books which might well be used for reference in the library. The answers are about weeding policies which are applicable and appropriate for a general public lending collection dominated by novels which were popular a few years ago. I've seen a book which was sold off, an exhibition type art book in very good condition and with substantial value. We have been advised in response to questions that there is no list of what has been discarded under this system - does the library's catalogue software not allow a database query for books deliberately removed from collections by staff looking after stock? - we're not asking to know all the books which have gone missing for any other reason.

Luci, that response you got sounds disingenuous to me. Library computer systems are very sophisticated these days and of course it would be possible to identify those deletions.

Mentioned before on this thread: has the professional body, CILIP, been approached? Unfortunately it wasn't that effective at lobbying etc as the Library Association but even less so now, low public profile compared with other professional bodies which get invited to media interviews etc.

Green with envy at the colourful candour in the earlier planned layout: indicating NO library on the TOP floor of Marcus Garvey Library.

Later, we get the purple-prose of "refurbishment", "improvements" and £3,000,000 investment until the spin doctors are blue in the face …

New, improved and fully spun to PR gold: most of top floor appears now as library.

Except it's not!

Some of this big, all-yellow area is suggested is library area.

Except that those 47 cramped study desks – "Quiet Study" – are for PC terminals, not books.

Tottenham deserves better, including users of the newly shrivelled Childrens' Library downstairs.

Should Haringey Council not be red-faced after the yellow whitewash of the "improvements" ?


Haringey Councillor
Liberal Democrat Party
Spokesman on Libraries

I'm confused but I think what this shows is an earlier plan (top) and revised plan.  So why is all the customer services part keyed in yellow?  Does this really mean that they can't tell the difference between getting a parking permit and getting help finding the book you want?  One job description covers all?

So they have moved some PC terminals into the top floor plan - but where are the books?  Doesn't most study include having books to hand?

Pam, yes, above is the Proposed top floor, before and after architects' changes and PR colouring-in (click to enlarge in each case).

Who was the bright spark that put the "Self Service area" and the "Childrens Play area" alongside the "Quiet Study area".

Below is the Proposed Ground floor. I can see a few narrow pieces of shelving, but most of it appears to be taken up with rows of PCs. Some desks do appear to be PC-free and available for general use. Books appears to be dumbed down drastically.

The Quiet Study and Quiet Reading areas are just by the new Parking Permit ticket vending machines (top left). The Childrens' Library is slashed in size and right by the new entrance.

I'm not convinced that what appear to be severe compromises, make sense. It think they need to go back to the drawing board.

THREE bookshelves? Seriously?

There are shelves on both sides of those three thin strips and there appears to be shelving along the west wall. It's almost enough to qualify as a Public Library, but almost everything else serves to downgrade that title and description.

If it didn't mean risking being arrested for trespass, I would go into MGL now and measure the shelves that are still standing.  This looks like about a quarter of the existing shelf space.

Cllr Kober, March 2015: 
• No loss of library space
• Improved book stands and book stock 

Proposed ground floor of the "library" (click to enlarge)

Dominating the ground floor of the Customer Service Centre would be lines of PC stations, divided by bookshelves towering three books high.

Top floor of the Customer Service Centre.

Main view: "Self Service"; four Interview rooms on right; "Childrens Play Area" (far end). Left: "Quiet Study 47 Desks" – (no books)



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