Brixtonians will march tomorrow to protest against the council’s decision to turn three public libraries into gyms.
The protest, organised by Save Lambeth Libraries, will start at 10.30am in Windrush Square, and protestors will march at 11am to Tate South Library where Cabinet member Cllr Jane Edbrooke will hold a surgery.
Hundreds of adults and children are expected to attend with a petition to save Lambeth libraries on change.org having already amassed more than 2,500 signatures.
Brixton Library worker and Unison convenor for the libraries section, 30-year-old Ruth Cashman, said: “We are determined to stop Lambeth from making such a devastating and irreversible error.
“The plans are frankly bizarre and we cannot see any above-board explanation for them.
“Libraries encourage a love of reading, help people access mental health support, help them bid for council houses, help them get the skills they need to get a job and find work, and they promote community cohesion through stigma-free universal services.”
“Books are where you can learn to be brave by meeting scary monsters who you can turn the page on, where you learn empathy by having other people’s feelings laid out for you, where you learn the world is not always has been and that it can change.”
Lambeth needs to cut £4m from its cultural service budget by 2018 to meet the council’s overall plans to reduce spending by at least £90m.
The Carnegie, Minet and Tate South Lambeth libraries will be redesigned to incorporate fitness centres, with the co-operation of Greenwich Leisure Ltd.
A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “These new services will give residents the chance to use both health and library services in one place.”
The protest march was organised by Save Lambeth Libraries when the group was made aware of the council’s decision.
Save Lambeth Libraries have an upcoming benefit gig and authors’ night coming up, and library workers will also be balloting for strike action.