Saturday, 24 September 2016

Save Higham Hill Library

We Love Higham Hill Library
Help us keep it where it is!
Phone Susan on 07985 674563
Please get involved in the campaign to save Higham Hill Library in its original building. Plans are afoot to move our local library service out of its current building and into a ‘community hub’ on Priory Court estate, which is not yet built, or even fully-planned. It is proposed that the library building will be demolished and the land it occupies sold off for flats. Yes, there is a need for affordable homes in London, but people in Higham Hill and the surrounding areas also need community spaces - we believe that public buildings should not be sold off.

Libraries are not a business, they are a service.
We know that not everyone uses the library all the time, but this is not the point. They are not supposed to be like Sainsbury’s or Amazon.

Libraries and the buildings they occupy are decentralised, free, inclusive spaces, available for anyone and everyone to use as and when they wish. You might not use the library for a while but then go in on the spur of the moment and find out about an event that interests you; you might not visit for several years, but then have children and be really keen for them go and use the picture books. 

In Higham Hill Library there are regularly older children completing homework after school in a safe environment. The library service is still critical to children in communities where many families don’t have lots of money for books, or computers to use / wifi to search the internet. The library also serves children from Winns, Roger Ascham, Hillyfield, Whittingham and Chapel End Primary Schools and local children’s centres.

Higham Hill Library occupies a special place in the history and geography of the local area. The library was opened almost 85 years ago – perfectly positioned on North Countess Road to serve the people of Higham Hill, Lloyd Park and later, the Priory Court estate. Like the houses and other buildings constructed around the time of the Warner estate, the library was built to improve the lives of local residents, and has been used and much-loved by generations of Walthamstow families. As all who visit will know,
Higham Hill Library is a light, airy and welcoming building, with a central reading and working space, meeting rooms, and even a small open space at the rear. We acknowledge that the library has become run-down, but we say – invest in it and watch it thrive! 

There is so much potential in this wonderful community space! With some care and a little imagination it could be used for all kinds of creative community events and these could also generate income towards further improvements to the service.

Keep our library buildings!

Libraries are a bit like non-religious places of worship – they should be in prominent locations, and should occupy big sturdy buildings that people can use as refuge from the busy world. We don’t believe that this will be the case if our local library service is moved and squeezed into a multi-purpose ‘hub’ building. Often when a library loses its building, it is the first stage in losing the whole service – it is scaled-down, hours are reduced, jobs are lost, and then it is easier to cut provision altogether.

We have already seen the loss of community libraries in other parts of the borough and we don’t want this to happen to Higham Hill.
What can you do? 10 ways to support the campaign to save Higham Hill Library:

1 Like and share the ‘We Love Higham Hill Library’ Facebook page – join as a member and encourage all
your friends and contacts to join too
2 Sign and leave a comment on our petition which can be accessed via the Facebook page – circulate this
and urge all your friends to sign and support too – we need lots of signatures
3 Contact your councillors letting them know that you want to keep Higham Hill Library where it is (Higham Hill Ward) (William Morris Ward)
4 Contact Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow letting her know your view and asking for her support
5 Leave a response / message of support in the Comments and Suggestions box on the library counter
6 Become a contact for your road / school – to deliver leaflets or to ask people to sign the petition
7 Offer the campaign any other skills that you may have – photography, publicity, writing, arts and crafts
8 Be prepared for and take part in the consultation – due to start in September
9 Visit and use your local library as much as possible!
10 Come along and support We Love Our Library events, the first of which is -
Saturday 17 September from 2 – 4pm
Join the Read-in at Higham Hill Library
Pick up leaflets for your road, sign the petition and find out more about the library campaign
Please especially come along with your children if they have taken part in the summer Big Friendly Read!
What is happening to other libraries?
The council proposes major changes to 3 local libraries – Highams Park (formerly Hale End), Wood Street and
Higham Hill - to close the existing buildings and to move the services they provide into other non-purposebuilt
spaces. The Highams Park Library campaigners collected over 8,000 signatures on their petition,
protested in front of the Town Hall and have won a stay of execution on their closure. Wood Street Library
also has a campaign up and running.
Without community support, all these libraries remain vulnerable – please support all the library campaigns! 

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