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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/

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

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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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P.S. And not just in Tottenham. At least one Council estate in Highgate - the ward you represent - was also targeted by the Muswell Hill Colonial Administration.

WHEN the Council Cabinet was announced in June last year, the Council self-reported that 

Cabinet unveiled to 'make Haringey London's most desirable borough   [LINK}

A comparison was made there between equal treatment of Stroud Green and Tottenham Green. However, there seems a difference between these Wards, in their treatment over libraries.

When Stroud Green & Harringay library closed for several months for refurbishment, it was only for refurbishment.

When Marcus Garvey closes in 13 days time, it will be gutted and re-configured.

When MG library returns sometime next year, it will be shrunken, noisier and significantly more cramped. I'm not convinced its been thought through.

Stroud Green is small such that it would never survive a Tottenham-style treatment.

CDC

Haringey Councillor
Liberal Democrat Party
Spokesman on Libraries

Pam, I've re-read you opening thread and sadly, I have to agree with each point you make.

Given that the local community is beginning to learn the truth and the whole truth of what is proposed, the PR department's antics tend to bring the Council into disrepute.

"as well as additional services" is misleading and leaves much unsaid. The double-speak conflates a library with a building. The claimed "revamp" spins the Council's motivation.

The bulk of the £3,000,000 of monies would not be to improve library services, but rather to alter the building in order to re-purpose it for a different, unrelated use.

A use that will dominate the "library". A use that will much impinge on library users. The accompanying changes will further downgrade the status of Tottenham's main library.

Of the £3m "released" for major structural change to the building, I estimate that less than a fifth would be spent on anything strictly library-related: but at much cost to library users.

One poor decision begets another. This ill-thought through plan is the latest mistake in a series.

"This ill-thought through plan is the latest in a series."
Their cynicism is unequalled.
The piece meal thinking of this Council (the politicians) - their ineptitude - will do much long term damage. And "the cuts" is not a good excuse for the lack of joined up thinking and many missed opportunities.
Money is being spent but what will there be to show it?

Here's the paragraph about Marcus Garvey Library from Tottenham News, the latest publicly funded leaflet to come through our letterbox.

In my opinion it should be called Council Porkies since, as we now know, the works planned are not a "makeover" any more than they are a "refurbishment". The Council's staff have made it clear - as Clive points out - that the building will be "gutted".

Though I expect it will be brighter. It could hardly be otherwise as the Kobervandals have allowed it to become dismal and rundown.

The promise of "additional staff on hand to answer questions"  ignores the librarians who have left or are leaving.  Even the phrase "around six months" is at best misleading, and nearer to a lie. The information given to Library  Campaigners was that the six month time frame was set in an attempt to get the work done as quickly as possible.  But that the architects have advised that this is "an ambitious time frame" and delivering in six months is "a very high risk programme".

In other words an upbeat leaflet printed and circulated door-to-door at our expense makes no attempt whatever to give residents a full, fair, and balanced picture.  Have these propagandists no professional standards? No self-respect? No shame?

The deeper problem with the Kober Regime is that she and her cronies have the ability to harm almost everything they handle. It's an unfailing anti-Midas touch which turns things to dross. But since they control the resources - staff, meeting spaces, offices, publications - it becomes hard to campaign against so many damaging policies at once.

In a YouTube interview with Owen Jones about anti-austerity protests he suggests that people can choose to focus on a single issue they are really passionate about.

The Save Marcus Garvey Campaign has done just that. But if that's not your issue, there are many other single or linked campaigns people can get involved in.

Have these propagandists no professional standards? No self-respect? No shame?

I suspect that purveyors of propaganda begin to believe their own propaganda. It'd be hard not to, when the only opinions spin doctors hear are their immediate colleagues in an echo chamber that has been described as the 'bubble', largely impervious to the needs and wishes of ordinary folk. And any accounts of public opinion through "engagement" could be tilted towards the official line.

The next press release could end with,

"We are confident that the public will agree with us, that the way forward we have outlined will secure the future".

I'm afraid this is one of the differences between many local authorities and library professionals - councils often don't see libraries housing council services as 'a different, unrelated use' but many librarians and members of the public will. They may present it as getting everyone together in one caring, sharing, family but I certainly got the impression on visiting Wood Green library there, where everyone is sharing one large enquiry desk, that the staff aren't enthusiastic about it.

As a former librarian I do appreciate that at least, unlike many other councils, Haringey has kept its libraries going and often offering a good service.

Needless to say, I expect the professional body, CILIP, will be as supine and non-responsive as ever.

The MGL librarians will be redeployed around the borough while the building work goes on.  Then they will have to reapply for their old jobs, rebranded as Information Assistants. 

To be fair, Roslyn, as far as I know, nobody is suggesting that libraries should not change. Nor that  their buildings should not be multi-use. And there will always be some changes that not every member of staff will be enthusiastic about.

But among the issues raised is whether people making decisions have listened and thought carefully enough about potentially clashing  functions.

Roslyn, can I please suggest that you visit Marcus Garvey Library in the few days before it closes. Take a look round. Perhaps speaking before you go to former colleagues. And then sharing your personal observations and impressions here.

I've recently taken two friends to the Marcus Garvey Library. One is a library professional, who knows a lot about how they are designed; how they actually work; and what makes them successful. The expertise of the other friend is in construction. Both of them have serious concerns about what's planned.

I wish I had the slightest confidence that anyone from Haringey would be interested to hear these concerns.

I don't understand how they can start on the work before they get planning permission. The library closes this weekend. The plans are up for comments till 8th September, then has to go to committee. Next planning cttee is 7th September. Then 5th October. So are they behaving like a slum landlord, do the work and get permission later? They can start bashing about the staircase, but how does the plan work if they don't have permission for the back through entrance? It would have to be redesigned. Again.

The 'engagement ' day re the proposed modest tower block in the car park looked at through routes, were there any real conclusions from that? If the library only has the front door as access, how do they protect library users especially children, from angry/upset residents not happy with their Customer Service?

If you read through the planning documents, the Design+Access Statement, it becomes quite bizarre. Thirty pages of justification for changing from a door with hinges each side, into a revolving door. That's it. Plus a load of guff about changing the way LBH delivers the needs of its residents, with services going online and everything being in one place. So this doorway must somehow be the only thing that is controlled by law? No mention of gutting the library and halving its provision. Why this enormous planning app for the change of a doorway and cutting a hole in a fence?

If LBH had not sold Apex House to Grainger, none of this would be happening. They are losing so much money on the deal it is quite stunning. It would be so much better if they owned up to this and stopped presuming we are all really stupid.

Planning app here. Ref HGY/2015/2325

MARCUS GARVEY GUTTED!

W.E.B. DU BOIS DELIGHTED! 

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON GRATEFUL TO NEW PLANTATION OWNERS - "THANKS MISSY KOBER!"

JASON ARTHUR, MP TOTTENHAM: "I humbly declare the Mayor David Lammy Info-Market open." 

M.L. KING JNR : "Now I feel that ole nightmare coming on again!" 

"Most of the books are being sold off or binned, including the much respected Black Triangle collection on Black history."

Pamish are you sure about this? I have been into the library very recently and asked specifically about the books on black history. I was told that some these books on this subject were in fact sold but they are readily available, were in quite bad condition and so will be replaced. The other part of this specialist collection was boxed and will be put back into the revamped library.

 

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