wfcwA history of library cuts and book burning in Waltham Forest
A front page of the Waltham Forest Guardian in 2007
12 November 2016
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Waltham Forest resident, Keith Foster, has his say on plans to close libraries. As a local resident of over 60 years, and someone for whom the Higham Hill library was very much a focal learning point during my schooldays of the 1950s and 60s, I have been following closely the latest Labour council's manoevres to 'downsize' yet more of our leisure resources.
There must be many residents still alive who like me, well remember the previous exercise which took place in 2007.

But for the enormous groundswell of public opinion at a crowded meeting - against the dictat of Mr Clive Morton, the then council's head of cultural services, would have resulted in the virtual closure of Vestry House Museum and, heaven forbid, the William Morris Gallery reduced to a three-day week!
However, despite great oratory from Peter Spiro, Martin Stuchfield and the late Bill Measure, which resulted in the council taking a step backwards, the gallery's curator of over 30 years, Peter Cormack, and the museum's equally expert in-his-field, David Pracy the librarian, both men left their posts.

At the same time the central library was causing major concerns after an expensive 'refurbishment'. A leaking roof was just the tip of the iceberg, as rumours grew throughout late 2007 the shelves at the library were now remarkably fewer - and so too were the books to fill them.

I am lucky enough to have archived various news items from the Guardian at that time. Not least of which was a dramatic admission by the council - "we burned over 250,000 books from the (entire) stock".
Should we now be on guard that the same thing could happen again? How would we know in any case, for the way this Labour cabinet acts in secret, defying all democratic process by making decisions - then going through a demonstration of consultation with the electorate AFTER they have made their decision.

You will not need reminding the same thing allegedly happened with mini-Holland too!
Decide - draw up plans - then consult afterwards with no intention of un-do