London

Brent library campaigners plan to hold daily vigils

  • 16 October 2011
  • From the section London
Campaigners outside Kensal Rise library
Image caption Campaigners and local residents have been keeping a 24-hour presence outside Kensal Rise library

Campaigners plan to gather every day outside a library in north-west London to prevent it from being boarded up.

Brent Council padlocked the doors of the Kensal Rise Library hours after a High Court bid to save six libraries from closure failed on Thursday.

Brent Libraries SOS group said it was keeping up a 24-hour presence outside the library, but in addition would stage a daily vigil.

Activists said the aim was to get the council to talk to residents.

About 70 people, including local residents and activists, gathered outside the library at about 16:00 BST on Sunday for their first vigil, a spokeswoman for the campaign group said.

'Energise the campaign'

Brent SOS Libraries sought a judicial review of the council's decision to close six of the 12 libraries in the borough, arguing that the local authority failed to assess local needs.

But the court ruled there was no evidence to support the allegations made against the authority.

Councillor Ann John, leader of the Labour-run council, said on Thursday the court decision meant it could "push ahead with our exciting plans to improve Brent's library service".

In April, Brent Council announced it would close the libraries in Kensal Rise, Barham Park, Tokyngton, Preston, Cricklewood and Neasden by September. In court the local authority said its decision was "rational".

Paula Gomez, 38, one of the campaigners organising the Kensal Rise vigil, said: "The community is really upset that the library has closed down.

"We have a constant presence, 24 hours, to try to stop Brent Council from boarding up the building and we thought it will be a nice idea to have a point in the day when everybody comes together for a bigger gathering.

Image caption Boxes with books donated by local residents are kept outside the library

"It's just a community effort to meet up and energise the campaign.

"Our main aim is to be able to keep the library open and that means to talk to Brent because they have refused to sit down and talk to us... and look for a way to work together or simply to let us work alone and run the library."

A few boxes containing books donated by local residents have been kept outside the building and are available on free loan.

Following the court ruling the council confirmed all six buildings were "made secure", prompting about 150 activists gathering outside Kensal Rise library to demonstrate on Thursday.

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