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Big SchNEWS shout out to the Friern Barnet library crew who proved that direct action really does get the goods.

Back in September last year an Occupy splinter group climbed through an “open window”* of a library closed by council austerity cuts and started squatting the building. Within a week the occupy group had re-opened it as an a community library. The occupiers had full support from the local campaign which had tried to keep the library open in the first place.

Over the course of the next five months they re-stocked the shelves and organised regular opening times and even had celebrity appearances by the likes of Will Self. An eviction notice was actually served back in December but was never acted on.

With plans to sell the building successfully frustrated – the local authority Barnet Council was forced to allow a group of local trustees to have a licence to run the premises as a 'community library'. There's also a £25,000 sweetener as funding has mysteriously become available. It's short of what campaigners have been demanding i.e. a professionally staffed library but it's a start.

One occupier told SchNEWS “Although there was strong local support against the library closure – they'd kind of exhausted all the avenues. Squatting the place really opened people's eyes up to the possibilities”

After the council's U-Turn squatters formally handed keys back to the local community in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Phoenix Rainbow spokeshippy said “This campaign definitely shows the success of direct action and squatting. This is a seed of change. The whole country will soon be facing 80% of the rest of the cuts. They can take some inspiration from this direct action. We have collectively helped to save this library from being sold off for development and bulldozed. We would like to see more arrangements between owners of the 1.4 million empty buildings in the UK and squatter/ homeless and community groups, rather than the criminalisation being carried out by this government under the new law.  A law we feel strongly is unjust, undemocratic and arbitrary."


*That old chestnut..keep 'em coming lads.

Stories about similar subjects...

With protestors gearing up for a second round of resistance there could be 'diversions ahead' for the East Sussex County Council and the road backing scum Trinity College in the University of Cambridge.

In solidarity with 235 Sussex University workers whose jobs are threatened with privatisation, protesters from around the country converge on Sussex University's campus (alread site of an ongoing occupation), invade management HQ and make a bonfire out of corporate files.

Recent announcement by Environmental Agency grants permits to EDF aiding the production of nuclear energy at Hinkley Point C.

If the "world leaders" heading to Enniskillen in June were hoping for an easy protest-free ride they were sadly mistaken

Protesters set up new camp and plan Weekend of Action after being ousted from the trees last month.

Civil liberties activists in Germany and elsewhere are taking a novel, and militant, approach to CCTV culture.

Whaling ship Nisshin Maru collides with Sea Shepherd vessels in an all out desperate initiative to take the Whale Navy out of action causing Japan to suspend its annual whaling hunt.

Not deterred by the eviction of the camps on the route, over thirty opponents of the 100 million Bexhill-Hastings link road visited East Sussex County Council in Lewes this week.

Twitter: @SchNEWS