Send photos, video and news by texting GUARDIAN SERIES to 80360 (cost 10p), or upload here
Waltham Forest Council has agreed to display the leaflets but a community group leader remains sceptical of library's long-term plans
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 are closed on this article.