Staff at the newly refurbished Leyton library told volunteer there is no space for community leaflets

Community leaflets 'banned from library'

Club organiser Ros Kane with member Lars Petersson holding the leaflets outside the library

The new look library opened to the public on March 15

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The founder of a community group said she was "flabbergasted" after being told she was not allowed to leave leaflets in a public library.

Ros Kane, organiser and founder of the Leytonstone-based News from Nowhere Club, visited Leyton Library in High Road last week following its recent £1million refurbishment, only to be told by staff there was "no space for community leaflets".

Ms Kane said she has been able to leave promotional information in libraries since the group, which hosts discussions guest speakers, formed 19 years ago.

But she said she has now been told only council leaflets are permitted.

She said: "I went to offer our latest calendar of events and found, not only that we could not use the notice board, but that non-council leaflets of any kind were not being accepted, even on file.

"I was absolutely flabbergasted. This is the first time I have ever been told my leaflets are not welcome.

“We’re volunteers, we’re not looking for commercial gain.

"The role of the library is to be an information point but they want the library to look neat and tidy.

“There's no excuse, they have lots of space."

Lord Peter Hennessy, a prominent historian, is a member of the club and he believes a place must be reserved in libraries for community information.

He said: "A sense of community is a precious gift in any locality and Waltham Forest has a fine record in seeking to develop and sustain such a spirit in our Borough. 

“A special place for community leaflets in Leyton Library must surely be a part of this."

Voluntary Action Waltham Forest, an umbrella organisation working to support the voluntary and community sector in the borough, agrees.

Information officer Sarah Kinson said it is vitally important residents are given access to information in public buildings.

She said: "Ros is totally justified in complaining about this. All groups should be able to share their community leaflets at the library.

"The library is a central hub for valuable information and it is vitally important for groups to use this public space to reach communities that don't have access to the internet.”

The club offers a series of monthly discussions with guest speakers for events held once a month on Saturday evening at the Epicentre in West Street, Leytonstone.

The council has been contacted for a comment.

Comments (9)

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3:47pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Dave mp says...

Aren't libraries supposed to be all about the community?
If not why not shut them all down and create community places for everyone in the community.
Aren't libraries supposed to be all about the community? If not why not shut them all down and create community places for everyone in the community. Dave mp
  • Score: 14

3:51pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Ollie J says...

Millions spent on refurbishment and there's no room for community leaflets?!

Library Services is a joke ... well, it would be is it weren't so busy wrecking libraries in the borough for a few trophy projects.

Careers are being built and communities are paying the price.
Millions spent on refurbishment and there's no room for community leaflets?! Library Services is a joke ... well, it would be is it weren't so busy wrecking libraries in the borough for a few trophy projects. Careers are being built and communities are paying the price. Ollie J
  • Score: 19

5:34pm Tue 25 Mar 14

NTiratsoo says...

Well done Ros and co.

Just another way that the Council disrespects community groups (except those run by its cronies!).

PS what lovely dogs.
Well done Ros and co. Just another way that the Council disrespects community groups (except those run by its cronies!). PS what lovely dogs. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 13

8:12pm Tue 25 Mar 14

myopinioncounts says...

It is essential that leaflets from "community groups" are vetted before being displayed in public libraries etc., How would the protestors feel if racist, homophobic or religious extremist literature was available in such places?
It is essential that leaflets from "community groups" are vetted before being displayed in public libraries etc., How would the protestors feel if racist, homophobic or religious extremist literature was available in such places? myopinioncounts
  • Score: -11

8:54pm Tue 25 Mar 14

mdj says...

They always were vetted: have you ever seen offensive material of the kind you refer to on display in a library?
This is a complete ban: only the council's point of view may be seen and heard.
It really does show how they regard their role vis-a-vis the public: rulers, not servants.
It's some seven years now since the libraries in this borough have been managed by a non-librarian: this was the regime that burned thousands of books, and came close to trashing the William Morris Gallery.
Three libraries have closed in that time, and if you walk into this one you'll have to search a while before you see a book!

Control-freakery should have no role in a place intended for learning, ideas and discovery.
They always were vetted: have you ever seen offensive material of the kind you refer to on display in a library? This is a complete ban: only the council's point of view may be seen and heard. It really does show how they regard their role vis-a-vis the public: rulers, not servants. It's some seven years now since the libraries in this borough have been managed by a non-librarian: this was the regime that burned thousands of books, and came close to trashing the William Morris Gallery. Three libraries have closed in that time, and if you walk into this one you'll have to search a while before you see a book! Control-freakery should have no role in a place intended for learning, ideas and discovery. mdj
  • Score: 9

10:58pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Villagecranberry says...

Pol Pot censorship comes to Waltham Forest under the dictatorship of Labour, to suppress the threatened overthrow by the News From Nowhere Club.
Pol Pot censorship comes to Waltham Forest under the dictatorship of Labour, to suppress the threatened overthrow by the News From Nowhere Club. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -5

11:03pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Love your high street says...

Isn't this the same library where Martin Esom, Waltham Forest council's Chief Executive, was seen collecting the Olympic leaflets?
Isn't this the same library where Martin Esom, Waltham Forest council's Chief Executive, was seen collecting the Olympic leaflets? Love your high street
  • Score: 6

11:15pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Walthamster says...

My heart sank when I heard about another Waltham Forest library being 'refurbished'. Walthamstow's once-magnificent central library has never recovered from a pointless £3-million makeover, which left it with a leaking roof, an unuseable new atrium and only a fraction of its previous book stock.

I once heard Lorna Lee, Waltham Forest's head of libraries and museums, describing a bare-walled library as looking "fresh and clean" -- she obviously didn't want it cluttered up with books!

Now the council has abolished the library's other traditional use, as a community information centre. No reason - just another way of pushing people around.
My heart sank when I heard about another Waltham Forest library being 'refurbished'. Walthamstow's once-magnificent central library has never recovered from a pointless £3-million makeover, which left it with a leaking roof, an unuseable new atrium and only a fraction of its previous book stock. I once heard Lorna Lee, Waltham Forest's head of libraries and museums, describing a bare-walled library as looking "fresh and clean" -- she obviously didn't want it cluttered up with books! Now the council has abolished the library's other traditional use, as a community information centre. No reason - just another way of pushing people around. Walthamster
  • Score: 7

5:57pm Thu 3 Apr 14

picture_this says...

...and when I recently visited Wanstead Library (Redbridge) they had done the exact opposite. In the foyer, where there had once been a narrow table, smothered in all manner of community leaflets, there were now two walls filled with acrylic flyer and poster dispensers. All full. But strangely, the sheer volume of paperwork displayed stifled my curiosity to know more.
...and when I recently visited Wanstead Library (Redbridge) they had done the exact opposite. In the foyer, where there had once been a narrow table, smothered in all manner of community leaflets, there were now two walls filled with acrylic flyer and poster dispensers. All full. But strangely, the sheer volume of paperwork displayed stifled my curiosity to know more. picture_this
  • Score: 0

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