18th May 2012
Everyone’s talking about…
Kendal Rise library. On Wednesday, the internet was filled with messages of support for the protesters who gathered at their local library to stop Brent Council from removing the books. It was the 6th library to be visited by removal and security teams in the borough in the last six months, and as news spread amongst locals who had been fighting hard to keep the library open, they came together to keep the books where they belong.
Friends of Kensal Rise library is a charitable foundation set up last year with the aim of enabling the local community to run the library themselves. They had put together a strong, workable proposal for how it could stay open at no cost to the council, but until Wednesday it seemed like the closure would go ahead.
On 3pm Wednesday, the new leader of Brent Council, Muhammed Butt, announced that the books wouldn’t be removed that day and there is now a glimmer of hope that plans for the site could be reconsidered. With 269 public libraries currently closed or under threat in the UK, Marika Giles Samson, writing in The Guardian, summed up the reasons why saving them is so important:
“Kensal Rise library became a symbol of our neighbourhood’s history and identity, and the fight to save it became a powerful statement: it’s about wanting a vibrant, safe, free, multicultural space in which to meet and learn. It’s about the need for local authorities to listen to and engage with local people, and about sensible people rising up against the senseless waste of a building gifted to us over a century ago, a building that has survived two world wars and any number of economic downturns. It’s about books and all that they offer in terms of imagination and aspiration. And it’s about the meaning of community: that by working together, looking out for each other, and believing in ourselves, we can achieve extraordinary things.”
In case you missed it…
Wednesday was National Flash Fiction Day and we had a great time running a workshop with the finalists of the Bad Language NFFD Competition, shaking out those pre-reading nerves and making some very strange noises (mainly our Deputy Ed.)! A great night was had by all at 3MT as we celebrated all things flash and heard a fantastic collection of stories. Did you take part in one of the many NFFD events across the country or were you inspired, as we were after these top tips from Kirsty Logan, to pick up a pen and scribble your own flash fiction?
On the site, we’ve been ranting about why we read celebrity fiction, steampunk and the supernatural, reasons to love Daphne du Maurier and had our dystopian fiction-loving days brightened by The Dystopians’ Guide to Positive Thinking.
In other news…
Tomorrow is the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention in Manchester. There will be ‘zines-a-plenty, workshops, film screenings, food and more, all in the beautiful surroundings of Victoria Baths. The event, running alongside Handmade (for hackers, crafters and digital innovators), is part of the Future Everything festival and there is a small entry charge of £2. Want to get into the DIY spirit? Convention organiser Natalie Bradbury spoke to Cazz Blaze about ‘zines, riot grrrl and the importance of Doing It Yourself.
Stoke Newington Literary Festival is just around the corner, so it’s time to book those tickets if you haven’t already. With everything from The New Libertines, Zoe Howe (talking to Wilko Johnson) and gin to Josie Long, Jackie Kay and literary talks, we’re struggling to figure out how to fit it all in!
Photo from Brit.’s Flickr photostream