The philosopher, author and life peer Baroness Mary Warnock has said closure of her local library, Sydenham Library, would be “barbarism”.
Warnock will be among the local authors and poets taking part in a read-in at the library on Saturday 5th February, as part of the national day of protests at proposed library cuts across the UK. Sydenham Library is among five Lewisham libraries threatened with the axe.
Warnock commented that Sydenham library, which opened in 1904 and was one of the first libraries gifted by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to be built in England, “must be one of the most beautiful library buildings”. She said:
“In times of economic misery and unemployment, we need more not less consolation from libraries, more access to newspapers, books and computers, more places to sit, research and make friends. It is barbarism to close it.”
Anthony Scully, Chair of the Save Sydenham Library campaign, said the group planned to make the event on the 5th “a celebration of the library we feel is a hub for our community” and would release 26 balloons at the end of the event, each carrying a letter of the alphabet. Scully said the gesture would “symbolise the centre of literature and culture that the library represents within our community.”
Campaigners submitted a petition with 20,000 signatures to Lewisham council in November in protest at the proposed closures. A decision on their future has been postponed to 17th February, with bids invited from independent groups who might want to take on their running.