It has now been confirmed that author Philip Pullman will speak at an event on the 20th July. More information about that very soon. We are extremely pleased he will be our guest and many thanks to Maggie for organising it. He has spoken in support of our campaign before and we look forward to having him on home ground.
An application for judicial review of Brent Council’s decision to close the six libraries has now been issued in the High Court. Directions have been agreed with Brent Council and the court will hear the case as soon as it can find time to fit it in. This may be at the end of July (before the end of the court term) or possibly in August or September (in vacation time). The hearing will be in public, at the Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, in central London. All supporters of the library campaign are welcome and the solicitor has said that it would be helpful if a good number of people can attend. We will send out details about the hearing when we have them. In addition to the solicitor, John Halford of Bindmans, a team of three barristers are working on the case: Helen Mountfield QC, Gerry Facenna and Edward Craven.
If the case is successful, it is likely that Brent Council will have to go through the decision making process again. The Brent SOS Libraries campaign group will put further proposals to them at this stage. It is possible that Brent Council may appeal if they lose. If the case is unsuccessful it is possible that the claimants will appeal, especially as it seems likely that this will be the first library closure challenge case to be heard across England and Wales.
Hopefully by the time this update is sent out there will be claimants from all or nearly all of the six threatened libraries with legal aid. The Legal Services Commission has asked for a “community contribution” towards the legal costs. This is £30,000 across all six libraries. So far we have raised nearly half of the total, so if you haven’t already done so and can afford to, please donate £5. More details about this on the SOS website: www.brentsoslibraries.org.uk
Thanks for all the support at the Queens Park Book Festival. It was a good day despite such cold summer weather, with plenty of people participating in the quizzes and the chain novel on our stall and a keenness for information about the campaign. Our stall was manned by representatives from the six libraries threatened with closure including Kensal Rise volunteers and the very positive response from people at the festival was heartening. With your support we managed to raise over £900 for our legal challenge to Brent.
Secretary of State
If you sent a letter to the Secretary of State at the DCMS and received a reply our legal team would like copies of both. Please send them as a Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
We plan to have a stall at the Kensal Flea on Saturday 25th June at the Paradise Pub from 12-5pm. We will be selling books and Kensal Rise campaign merchandise and also distributing leaflets. You can donate good quality books on the day and also help out on the stall if you have some time to spare. If you would like to help with an hour or two please contact me.
Supporters and Telephone Tree
Finally, thanks again to all the supporters and helpers out there, including those who are volunteering to help run the library, the people who have become part of the ‘telephone tree’ (contact Caroline at email@example.com if you want to join the ‘library watch’), people that have helped at fund raising events and those of you that send messages of support.
There’s a lot of goodwill in this community.