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Monday, 9 May 2011

Bigger, stronger society in Croydon? A resident's view

So the council wants to grow a bigger, stronger society in Croydon and make it an enterprising city where local people work together in partnership with the State to achieve lasting improvements for all communities.  At the heart of this bigger, stronger society will be local people feeling empowered to have greater control over their lives and the choices they make.

How can Croydon be bigger and stronger and more enterprising when our libraries are under threat? Where access to knowledge, information, cultural development, social interaction, books and a community lifeline is being eroded? Not forgetting the fall in literacy standards which will follow and destruction of invaluable links between local libraries and community groups such as schools and nurseries.

In particular, councillors have been pushing for community-run libraries and none more quite vociferously than in Sanderstead, where a volunteer model has been favoured over the present professionally-run service since December and the outset of the libraries consultation. Councillors say they are looking at other options, but at a recent council meeting, they would not give details of the other options being explored.

How can the state and communities work together when information is clearly not being shared? When it is obvious that local views are not being listened to, and when it is quite evident that our priorities are not their priorities?  

The results of the libraries consultation speak for themselves.  Libraries are used, wanted and needed by all the community and provide a comprehensive, efficient and reliable service to all. They act as the hubs of the community and in areas like Sanderstead even serve as the only public building. 

At this point in time, running so fervently with the volunteer model without giving details of other options being explored is not empowering the community.  I want to see Croydon grow and be strong, for this generation and the next. This won’t happen with deceit and suppressing information. 

Sanderstead resident's letter, published in the local Croydon papers

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