07 Feb 2011 8:00 AM | Secretary MCA (Administrator)


Local and award-winning novelists SARAH WATERS, EDMUND DE WAAL and STELLA DUFFY have stepped up to the plate to help support the Lambeth borough MINET LIBRARY read-in

The read-in will take place on Saturday 12th February from 2.30 through 4.30pm, at MINET LIBRARY, 52 Knatchbull Road, London, SE5 9QY.

Last weekend saw read-ins and demonstrations of library support across the country for local libraries, whose services are currently under threat. However, this small branch missed out and so local residents and the Friends of Minet Library group have jumped to the task of professing their love of this small library, which although partially destroyed by incendiary bombs on December 8, 1940survived, and with the help and support of the local community it maintains a lively, thriving existence to this day.

Gifted to the community by the Minet family, the building that now houses the library was originally part of the Minet estate, and was designed by George Hubbard and opened in 1890. The library is still at the heart of this community, with the historic Myatt’s Fields Park and Longfield Hall just up the road. All these sites have recently been restored and provide regular activities open to everyone locally such as Community Gardening, Ballet, Tennis, Street Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Film-club and Reading groups.

Lambeth Council is currently discussing the possibility of cutting and or closing Public Libraries in the borough and have already decided to stop the mobile/housebound library service altogether. The possibility of actual branch closures is very real.

As a small, branch library, Minet Public Library is particularly vulnerable, despite it offering some key community activities such as Surestart Under 5s storytelling; a weekly reading group for 7-11 year olds; the free use of 12 computers for internet access, email and word-processing; a small collection of books in French and Spanish; as well as what we all know and love as typical library service: lots of real books!

Highlights of the day will be readings from each of the authors, plus other local celebrities. The Itinerant Poetry Library – a world travelling free poetry library will be offering free membership to locals before it shifts location to San Francisco next week! Face-painting and free children’s activities will be taking place on the day, alongside the opportunity for anyone who turns up to read from their favourite library book.

The Minet Library is more than a library - it is the centre of the community it serves. It would be unthinkable that in one of the most deprived parts of Lambeth it could close. Together we will make sure this does not happen.” – Kate Hoey, MP

“When we enter a library we encounter each other, encountering each other we are revealed more to ourselves. Through such meetings we begin to understand how we are connected by our experiences of a shared world. Fundamentally, when we enter a library we are offered the opportunity to learn new things and thus, as individuals, as world citizens, to grow.” – The Itinerant Poetry Librarian

Campaigners are expecting a large turn-out for the read-in on:

Saturday 12th February, 2.30-4.30pm
52 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY

For further information please contact Friends of Minet Library on 07506 310187 or email or tweet to @minetlibrary on twitter.

Editor’s notes:

  • Minet is a branch library in the borough of Lambeth
  • The library was partially destroyed by incendiary bombs on December 8th, 1940 but survived the day!
  • Sarah Waters is the author of Fingersmith (shortlisted for the Booker and Orange prizes) and Tipping the Velvet (both books adapted for the BBC), and most recently the novels The Nightwatch and The Little Stranger (both shortlisted for the Man Booker).
  • Stella Duffy is the author of the The Room of Lost Things (2008 Orange Prize Longlist); the novel Theodora and the Saz Martin crime books series.
  • Edmund de Waal is the 2011 winner of the Costa Biography Award for The Hare With Amber Eyes. He was apprenticed as a potter in Canterbury, studied in Japan and then read English at Cambridge. The Hare with Amber Eyes is “the story of the ascent and decline of a Jewish dynasty, about loss and diaspora and about the survival of objects.”
  • Kate Hoey is MP for Vauxhall, South London.
  • The Itinerant Poetry Library has provided a free public library of “lost & forgotten” poetry for the last 4 years in 13 countries & 33 cities worldwide, in over 200 different locations, providing 1000 hours of public library service to the good citizens of the world.

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