Waltham Forest Council has agreed to display the leaflets but a community group leader remains sceptical of library's long-term plans

The newly-refurbished library costing £1 million

The newly-refurbished library costing £1 million

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Waltham Forest

Staff at a public library will now accept and display leaflets and posters from community groups after backtracking on a ban. 

Waltham Forest Council have apologised after Ros Kane, organiser and founder of the Leytonstone-based News from Nowhere Club, visited Leyton Library in High Road and was told by staff there was "no space for community leaflets". 

The club's leaflets were taken by the library manager, who said theywould be handed out "on request". 

The council claims the reason for the disagreement at the newly refurbished library is because it is implementing a digital system of displaying community information on a screen in the library.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, cabinet member for health and well-being, said: "This issue seems to have arisen because of a desire to look at providing information digitally as much as possible.

"Posting information on the council’s website and displaying on screens in the library is an option we are looking at exploiting to a greater extent, but we accept at the moment that is not the only option and that this system both needs to be perfected and only used where appropriate."

"While the manager at Leyton Library did take the leaflets from the customer and agreed to distribute them on request, we recognise now that we should have gone further and made them available along with other community leaflets until we can provide a comprehensive alternative.

"Accordingly we have now placed the leaflets on display and apologise for any inconvenience."

Ms Kane has been distributing promotional information in libraries since the group, which hosts discussions guest speakers, formed 19 years ago and says any alternative to a permanent display area is inadequate. 

"It’s nice to hear our leaflets are now on display and I’m very pleased the council have listened but it is not adequate to display the information on a screen as most people wont be able to take it away with them.

"The council is trying to dismiss the old-fashioned tried and tested way of displaying leaflets on a table, in a rack and on a noticeboard and I don’t understand why?

"A real victory would be if a permanent display area is guaranteed not as an alternative but maybe in conjunction with a digital display."

Ms Kane strongly believes the hundreds of community groups and charities operating in the borough save lives and claims the council is not going far enough to help promote them. 

She added: "The council needs to bend over backwards to encourage local community groups in every way they can including maximum opportunities for publicity."

"The people making these decisions are out of touch with local people and want their libraries to mimic a 'retail model' like a posh department stores when this is simply not how it works."

Voluntary Action Waltham Forest, an umbrella organisation working to support the voluntary and community sector in the borough has said it is vital groups are able to share information in libraries and welcomes the news. 

 

Comments (14)

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4:05pm Wed 26 Mar 14

mdj says...

'The club's leaflets were taken by the library manager, who said they would be handed out "on request".

...if you happen to know that they are there! Why waste the time of a staff member when a notice board does this for nothing?
Interesting that the fuddy-duddy old word 'librarian' is not to be heard.

'This issue seems to have arisen because of a desire to look at providing information digitally as much as possible...'

Whose desire? The desire to control what people see, mediated by the council's own PR machine (at extra expense), is evident here.

This is the council who charged a film-maker for 'insurance' to make a film about the market - which went on to win a prize at Cannes!;
one of whose street wardens was filmed racking his brains for made-up reasons to stop another film-maker using a camera in public!
Whose Libraries Manager was heard in raptures about the 'clean,tidy' look of the refurbished Leytonstone Library - with many fewer books.

It's indicative of the mindset that Cllr Khan was overheard at the opening of the revamped William Morris Gallery saying that he hadn't been there since he was taken while at school.
It's in his ward.
'The club's leaflets were taken by the library manager, who said they would be handed out "on request". ...if you happen to know that they are there! Why waste the time of a staff member when a notice board does this for nothing? Interesting that the fuddy-duddy old word 'librarian' is not to be heard. 'This issue seems to have arisen because of a desire to look at providing information digitally as much as possible...' Whose desire? The desire to control what people see, mediated by the council's own PR machine (at extra expense), is evident here. This is the council who charged a film-maker for 'insurance' to make a film about the market - which went on to win a prize at Cannes!; one of whose street wardens was filmed racking his brains for made-up reasons to stop another film-maker using a camera in public! Whose Libraries Manager was heard in raptures about the 'clean,tidy' look of the refurbished Leytonstone Library - with many fewer books. It's indicative of the mindset that Cllr Khan was overheard at the opening of the revamped William Morris Gallery saying that he hadn't been there since he was taken while at school. It's in his ward. mdj
  • Score: 10

12:34am Thu 27 Mar 14

Villagecranberry says...

Glad that they reviewed their ridiculous stance and realised that a Poll Pot policy with the community would not have any legs and that these public 'job worths' should remind themselves who and why they are working in a Public Library.
Glad that they reviewed their ridiculous stance and realised that a Poll Pot policy with the community would not have any legs and that these public 'job worths' should remind themselves who and why they are working in a Public Library. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -1

12:33pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Sam Hain says...

William Morris Gallery is not in Cllr Khan's ward, MDJ, that's the Vestry House Museum, but it certainly is his portfolio - so I'd be alarmed if he didn't visit William Miorris Gallery. On the issue of printed leaflets versus digital formats, I think there's some inconsistency in calls for the Council to abandon the printed version of WF News in favour of a digital version (which already exists on its website, by the way) whilst criticising it for seeking to do so in its libraries. Having said that, I'm a great proponent of 'printed matter' and think there's room for both formats, which are complementary..
William Morris Gallery is not in Cllr Khan's ward, MDJ, that's the Vestry House Museum, but it certainly is his portfolio - so I'd be alarmed if he didn't visit William Miorris Gallery. On the issue of printed leaflets versus digital formats, I think there's some inconsistency in calls for the Council to abandon the printed version of WF News in favour of a digital version (which already exists on its website, by the way) whilst criticising it for seeking to do so in its libraries. Having said that, I'm a great proponent of 'printed matter' and think there's room for both formats, which are complementary.. Sam Hain
  • Score: 5

3:54pm Thu 27 Mar 14

the dame says...

The display of leaflets is a small but welcome gesture for all the local community groups and why the Council saw fit to rethink this facility is beyond me. There is life outside the digital. Please take a tip from the Central Library in Redbridge. I am currently arranging for 5,000 A5 flyers to be delivered to them for their distribution to the remainder of the libraries in Redbridge. They are also happy to take both a powerpoint version for their internal display screens and A3 posters for their display boards. Groups also have access to promote their interests in the notice boards throughout the Borough. Waltham Forest, you have no excuse not to do the same. As the saying goes, 'it is not rocket science' but a willingness to support the local community.
The display of leaflets is a small but welcome gesture for all the local community groups and why the Council saw fit to rethink this facility is beyond me. There is life outside the digital. Please take a tip from the Central Library in Redbridge. I am currently arranging for 5,000 A5 flyers to be delivered to them for their distribution to the remainder of the libraries in Redbridge. They are also happy to take both a powerpoint version for their internal display screens and A3 posters for their display boards. Groups also have access to promote their interests in the notice boards throughout the Borough. Waltham Forest, you have no excuse not to do the same. As the saying goes, 'it is not rocket science' but a willingness to support the local community. the dame
  • Score: 4

4:10pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Sam Hain says...

Well said, that dame!
Well said, that dame! Sam Hain
  • Score: 2

4:37pm Thu 27 Mar 14

leytonoldboy2 says...

Naheed Asghar, Junior Lead Member, Libraries was alarmed that Leyton Gallery was losing its exhibition space In Leyton Library last year - she didn't even know it had one! It had been there for a year!
Naheed Asghar, Junior Lead Member, Libraries was alarmed that Leyton Gallery was losing its exhibition space In Leyton Library last year - she didn't even know it had one! It had been there for a year! leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 2

7:08pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Villagecranberry says...

leytonoldboy2 wrote:
Naheed Asghar, Junior Lead Member, Libraries was alarmed that Leyton Gallery was losing its exhibition space In Leyton Library last year - she didn't even know it had one! It had been there for a year!
Yes but let's face it, like GP Surgery receptionists, Librarians are a breed unto their own.
[quote][p][bold]leytonoldboy2[/bold] wrote: Naheed Asghar, Junior Lead Member, Libraries was alarmed that Leyton Gallery was losing its exhibition space In Leyton Library last year - she didn't even know it had one! It had been there for a year![/p][/quote]Yes but let's face it, like GP Surgery receptionists, Librarians are a breed unto their own. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -4

11:30am Fri 28 Mar 14

mdj says...

Welcome back Sam , unless you've been posting under other names?
Thanks for the correction; the point still stands, I think.

The issue remains that if only digital material is to be used in public (the word is a clue) libraries, it has to pass through a filter; in this case the filter of a very controlling Council that has committed many petty acts of censorship.
Welcome back Sam , unless you've been posting under other names? Thanks for the correction; the point still stands, I think. The issue remains that if only digital material is to be used in public (the word is a clue) libraries, it has to pass through a filter; in this case the filter of a very controlling Council that has committed many petty acts of censorship. mdj
  • Score: 3

2:02pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Sam Hain says...

mdj wrote:
Welcome back Sam , unless you've been posting under other names?
Thanks for the correction; the point still stands, I think.

The issue remains that if only digital material is to be used in public (the word is a clue) libraries, it has to pass through a filter; in this case the filter of a very controlling Council that has committed many petty acts of censorship.
No, been abroad but got a touch of the Brownings (Oh to be in England...). I agree there still appear to be lessons to be learned about controlling attitudes. Be interesting to see what happens post-May 23.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: Welcome back Sam , unless you've been posting under other names? Thanks for the correction; the point still stands, I think. The issue remains that if only digital material is to be used in public (the word is a clue) libraries, it has to pass through a filter; in this case the filter of a very controlling Council that has committed many petty acts of censorship.[/p][/quote]No, been abroad but got a touch of the Brownings (Oh to be in England...). I agree there still appear to be lessons to be learned about controlling attitudes. Be interesting to see what happens post-May 23. Sam Hain
  • Score: 2

12:18pm Sat 29 Mar 14

mdj says...

'When I hear the words Waltham Forest Council I reach for my Browning..' :-)
'When I hear the words Waltham Forest Council I reach for my Browning..' :-) mdj
  • Score: 1

10:41am Mon 31 Mar 14

leytonoldboy2 says...

I went into the library the other day and there were five people using it - four on computers and one upstairs talking on her mobile. Does anyone know how much was spent alienating the public from this building?
I went into the library the other day and there were five people using it - four on computers and one upstairs talking on her mobile. Does anyone know how much was spent alienating the public from this building? leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 2

3:47pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Sam Hain says...

mdj wrote:
'When I hear the words Waltham Forest Council I reach for my Browning..' :-)
To quote Browning's 'A Lover's Quarrel', "they may live and learn!"
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'When I hear the words Waltham Forest Council I reach for my Browning..' :-)[/p][/quote]To quote Browning's 'A Lover's Quarrel', "they may live and learn!" Sam Hain
  • Score: 1

5:09pm Mon 31 Mar 14

mdj says...

'Does anyone know how much was spent alienating the public from this building?'
Over a million, and that's following a revamp a very few years ago, while three libraries have closed for 'lack of funds'.
The day of the first article on this topic there was a cluster of T-shirted staff hanging around the automatic check-in machines offering to help people and getting no response.
Only about two dozen books are to be seen throughout the ground floor of the building.
'Does anyone know how much was spent alienating the public from this building?' Over a million, and that's following a revamp a very few years ago, while three libraries have closed for 'lack of funds'. The day of the first article on this topic there was a cluster of T-shirted staff hanging around the automatic check-in machines offering to help people and getting no response. Only about two dozen books are to be seen throughout the ground floor of the building. mdj
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 31 Mar 14

leytonoldboy2 says...

This appeared on this site on September 2nd -
'Work has begun on the £5 million refurbishment of libraries across Waltham Forest.'
Was anything like this amount of work done on any of the others or did Leyton get the lion's share? If so, it's probably a lot more than 1 million I suppose.
This appeared on this site on September 2nd - 'Work has begun on the £5 million refurbishment of libraries across Waltham Forest.' Was anything like this amount of work done on any of the others or did Leyton get the lion's share? If so, it's probably a lot more than 1 million I suppose. leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 0

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