Save Blackfen Library

Following Bexley Council’s proposal to re-model the borough’s libraries, the importance to many people to keep Blackfen Library as a Council-run library has become evident, not just to individuals but also to schools and businesses in the area. It is vital that we all make this clear to Bexley Council now. To do this please sign the petition and if you are a Bexley resident you should complete the Council questionnaire as well.

The petition to save Blackfen’s library can be signed here: http://www.change.org/p/bexley-council-save-blackfen-library-and-keep-it-as-a-council-managed-service. [THIS PETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THE ONLINE AND PAPER PETITION REACHED 3017 SIGNATURES].

Karen Mensa-Bonsu has been working incredibly hard to increase awareness of the proposal, to collect signatures and to distribute paper versions of the petition, and it is available to sign at the following places in Blackfen:
Candy Box Supermarket
Blackfen Cards
The Post Office/Londis
Tesco Express
Brownes Chemist
The Blackfen Specialist Off Licence
Morgans Hairdressers
Casey and Korkies Schoolwear
J. Ayre Bakers
The Card Shop Newsagents
Premier Autocentres
Hair Therapy
Day Lewis Pharmacy
The George Staples pub
Copelands Newsagent
Stuart Gothelf Opticians
Pares Children’s Footwear
Our Lady of the Rosary RC Church

Please tell as many people as you can about this. The petition will be presented to the Council by the end of the consultation period on 21 November.

Bexley residents should also complete the Council questionnaire at http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=18087 [THIS QUESTIONNAIRE CLOSED ON 21 NOVEMBER]

Please support your local library and save it from being lost for future generations.

Blackfen Library today is a friendly, busy library in the heart of the shopping area. There are books, DVDs, audio books, PCs, WiFi, Council services, photocopier and fax, Council contact point with freephone, disabled access, public toilet (the only one in Blackfen), art display board for hire and meeting room for hire. Children’s groups include Toddlertimes, Storytimes and Chatterbooks. Regular adult events include a monthly reading group, twice-weekly coffee morning, weekly Scrabble and games club, twice-monthly Stitch and Craft, and two separate weekly Jigsaw puzzle groups. These are invaluable for both young and old, to educate and socialise, and to prevent isolation and loneliness [therefore making financial savings eventually as people are less likely to rely on social services and NHS]. Travelling further afield would be impractical or even impossible for many users due to physical mobility problems, time or cost of travel. Should Blackfen Library close, classes from local schools would be unable to make visits to the library, and children would not be able to pop into the library on their way home from school.

While children and older people are probably the main groups affected, there are also job-seekers who use the computers (not every household can afford a computer and broadband, and online job applications cannot be done via a mobile phone). With the number of financial cuts and public consultations put out by Bexley Council lately, to get rid of the library would seem to strike down democracy itself: for those who cannot travel far, how will they access online or paper versions of the consultation papers?

Children's corner, books and computers at Blackfen Library, March 2014. (Please note that I was not allowed to include people in the photograph, which is why it doesn't look busy. I actually had to wait quite a while before it cleared so I could take it!).

Children’s corner, books and computers at Blackfen Library, March 2014. (Please note that I was not allowed to include people in the photograph, which is why it doesn’t look busy. I actually had to wait quite a while before it cleared so I could take it!).

A snapshot while I was in Blackfen Library on the afternoon of Saturday 25th October: “It’s very busy. Quite a queue at the desk – people borrowing books and booking places for half-term activities for children. Someone is at a table studying, there are people using the computers, and there are excited children reading books in the kids corner. There is a Japanese calligraphy exhibition and artwork by Marlborough Park School on display. And Bexley Council want to get rid of all this? Meanwhile, I spotted only one A4 poster inviting people to comment on Bexley Library proposals – and nowhere did it say ‘and this means this particular library in Blackfen may close as a result’. Almost like they don’t want anyone to find out… Which would be convenient, wouldn’t it?”

As the petition was signed by such a large number of people it will be presented at the Bexley Council Public Cabinet Meeting on 17 December 2014 at 7.30pm. The public can attend this meeting, at the Civic Offices, Watling Street, Bexleyheath, so please come along and show your support.

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5 thoughts on “Save Blackfen Library

  1. Pingback: Libraries and Reading Round Up | Alan Gibbons' Diary

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  3. Pingback: Birth of ‘The Blackfen Association’ | Blackfen Past and Present

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  5. Pingback: Next meeting of the new community association for Blackfen | Blackfen Past and Present

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