“Book Token” takes one in the Eye on library closures

Sara Bashford: a triumph of dogma over the public good

The Philistines running our council have sounded the death knell for more than a century of learning and reading at Upper Norwood Joint Library with this brief paragraph in their Annual General Meeting papers which has just been posted on the Croydon Council website:

4.2.10 Upper Norwood Joint Library (article 11 schedule1)
The Agreement with Lambeth Council establishing this joint committee has been terminated and so there is no longer a requirement to appoint to this joint committee

This is all despite the overwhelming and widespread public opposition to the library’s closure, with a consultation meeting even planned for tonight. And it is all in spite of Councillor Sara Bashford and Gavin Barwell MP‘s solemn public promises that no Croydon libraries will be closed.

Of course, the broken promises not to close libraries, while undermining the borough-wide libraries service in preparation for privatisation, has been on-going for some time. In New Addington, the public library is being shunted into the foyer of another public building to make way for a Tesco superstore.

How this brick-by-brick, book-by-book destruction of Croydon’s public library service might sit with Barwell, in his new role as the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on literacy, as his constituency office is being run for him by “Book Token” Bashford, the Croydon Council cabinet member responsible for this artless vandalism, has long struck Inside Croydon as a rich example of political hypocrisy. A triumph for dogma and convenience over the public interest.

Now the Barwell and Bashford two-faced double-act is to get a wider, national audience, in the latest edition of Private Eye, even with a mention of our “Book Token” nickname (copyright Inside Croydon 2010) .

Read it and weep, Gav:

“Boys are less likely to be given a book as a present and less likely to be taken to a library,” said a worried Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell as he launched the all-party parliamentary group on literacy’s Commission on Boys’ Reading last month.

One person who could face questions about why boys are even less likely to go to a library once it’s closed is Barwell’s parliamentary caseworker, Cllr Sarah Bashford. As Croydon’s cabinet member for customer services, she is overseeing the threatened closure of the 112-year-old Upper Norwood library after Croydon council pulled out of its unusual long-term joint funding agreement with Lambeth council for the library which sits on the border between the two areas. Meanwhile the council is seeking to outsource its remaining libraries to the private sector.

Barwell’s assistant was dubbed “Book token Bashford” by Croydon community campaigners after she suggested that it would almost be cheaper to “give the visitor to the library a book token to go and purchase a paperback” than it would for them to borrow a single book from the branch library – a claim not supported by Croydon’s own figures.

  • Inside Croydon: Living life on the fringes of Croydon. Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, email us at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, Education, Gavin Barwell, Libraries, Sara Bashford and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Book Token” takes one in the Eye on library closures

  1. Philistines and hypocrites abound amongst the Tories: Book Token and Barwell lead them.

    We pay their salaries and have a right to monitor their actions.

    Book Token receives public money as a Croydon Council Cabinet member and Parliamentary assistant to Barwell: she holds two jobs when there are so many unemployed in Croydon. I heard from one of her colleagues that “the girl needs money” . Don’t we all?

    Barwell MP has only got one job. He has, obviously, been advised to plan his projects in a better way and not to bring his position into disrepute.

    Both were elected to serve the public.

    Both are betraying their promises.

    Both should go. Hopefully, soon.

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