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Friday, 23 August 2013

A serious shared lack of judgement or wilfully misleading #Croydon? You decide

Letter to the Editor of the Croydon Guardian on Monday 5th August, 2013:

If New Addington Library is unfit for use, why is it good enough for Salvation Army?

The writer, a Forestdale resident, makes the case that the statements made by key Conservative councillors lead the community to believe that  the old New Addington building is no longer fit for habitation.

He quotes local Councillor, Tony Pearson, who stated that,
"The current library building is old and not really fit for purpose",
 Cllr Sara Bashford stated,
 "We will be moving the library into the Calat, that is the plan at the moment. To shut the current building which is quite old and getting to the end of its useful life".

and added

"The library is currently in a quite old, crumbling building".

And this argument was reinforced by Councillor Tim Pollard, stating,

"We are going to relocate the library for two reasons. One is the existing building is no longer fit for purpose – it is falling to bits. It was built back at a time when building standards weren't great".

Taking all of the above into account, the writer makes the reasonable assumption that that the old New Addington building is in a virtual state of collapse.

So the resident poses a very reasonable question, as follows:

My question is why, if the old library building, which was "not fit for purpose" in 2011 and "getting to the end of it's useful life", "quite old and crumbling" and "falling to bits" in 2012, is it now, and for the next 18 to 24 months, being leased to The Salvation Army, who are using it as a play centre for the children of New Addington? 
Are Croydon Council callously putting money ahead of the safety of the residents of New Addington, or were Councillors Pearson, Bashford and Pollard deliberately lying, so as to smooth the way for Croydon Council to get the green light, as they have done this week, to sell the land to a major supermarket? 
And finally, will Croydon Council assume liability if the building does "crumble" or "fall to pieces" and people are injured or possibly killed, or more to the point, will Councillors Pearson, Bashford and Pollard be reprimanded, dismissed, or even prosecuted, if the building is found to be perfectly safe, and they are found to have been lying, scaremongering and abusing their power when placed into a position of trust?
Thanks to Gary James McIver for exposing this. Please get in touch if you know more. Can this really be true?

Email us at or add a comment below.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

JLIS exposed in Private Eye

See the latest  Private Eye, page 28 for this report on JLIS and Croydon Libraries...

"THE public get more for less," claimed Tim Grier, managing director of John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS), speaking at the recent Conservative Way Forward Local Government conference. 

JLIS takes over the running of library services in Ealing, Harrow and Croydon later this year, but Grier focused on how marvellous things are in Hounslow, where JLIS took over in 2008 and "all 11 libraries remain open and for longer hours" while buildings have had "significant refurbishment" thanks to outsourcing. 

Hold on.  The refurbishment was fully paid for by council taxpayers, with £5m given to JLIS by Hounslow in 2009 to tackle things like leaky roofs and faulty lifts.  And it may not have closed a library, but in 2010 JLIS did close Hounslow library service's Skills Suite for teaching people to use computers, with 12 job cuts. 

Libraries campaigner Ian Anstice points out that, as JLIS's first library service takeover, Hounslow has acted as a loss leader to convince other local authorities to hand over their library services.  In both Harrow and Ealing significant job cuts in the library service have already been announced in advance of the September takeover.
Source: PRIVATE EYE | Library News
            Issue No. 1347
            23 Aug - 5 Sept 2013 

And, as library users in Croydon know, Croydon Council have already cut library opening hours, reduced staffing and stock in Croydon libraries ready for the JLIS takeover

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Little Bay Restaurant in Croydon feature Croydon Libraries Campaign!

The Little Bay Restaurant, Croydon has launched a series of Community Spirit posts to support local businesses and campaigns and we are delighted to be featured as their first campaign.

You can read the full article here.

If you want to follow Little Bay for this and future posts  find them at @TheLittleBay on Twitter and on Facebook at

And please don't forget to thank them for their support!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Summer Reading Challenge Teen mystery

The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children 4 to 11 years of age and is already in full swing elsewhere. It was launched on 6th July in Merton libraries, in Lewisham and Haringey Libraries on 13th July, and on 20th July in Hounslow Libraries, for example.

Children can log in to record their progress. Over154,000 books had already been read by children up and down the country before the scheme is even launched in Croydon!

In Croydon, the Summer Reading Challenge commenced on  Monday, 29th July and will run throughout August.

Get all the details, as we know them here.

But teens will not miss out in Croydon libraries as the scheme is being extended to everyone up to 19 years of age.

Quite how this works remains to be seen.

You'll need to pop into a library to unravel the secret!

Do let us know how you get on.

And is anyone has information on the under 4s, please let us know. In previous years there was the Baby Book Crawl.

All comments welcome.