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The letter below appeared in this weeks Hornsey Journal. For the purposes of this note I will assume it is an accurate record of what happened. 

It seems to suggest certain tensions arising. I guess the locked room is the unlibrary, which used to be the local history archive. It is locked because 

  1. it is dedicated to a particular group of people
  2. the possessions which that group have on display have been vandalised recently

Now items in libraries are frequently vandalised. There are lots of stories of collectors cutting pages from antique books for their own collections. But I guess that in this case the suspicion for the vandalism fell upon the group which includes the very youngsters wishing to use it as a study area, and that in this case the vandalism was destructive rather than acquisitive.

I was distressed to read about the vandalism because my own observations were that the study space was being used to its fullest extent when I checked it out one Sunday.

So the tensions I see include:

The bigger the group of apparently studious people there are using the library the more likely it is to include rogue elements

Partitioning the library to make it into a "community hub" will cut off some parts from general use

Passers-by (e.g. Rob White) will initiate conversations with librarians to right what they see as wrongs




Tags: community hub, crouch end, haringey, library, tension

Views: 172

Replies to This Discussion

I'm one of the two people who have had the idea for this space and who now manage and develop the Unlibrary (on a voluntary basis, I might add.) We've put our contact details on the door while we figure out how to deal with this, I wonder if Rob couldn't have written a mail to us rather than to the Hornsey Journal?

As we've written in our blog http://unlibrary.posterous.com (the url is on the Unlibrary door too,) we're very happy to talk to people and allow them in the space, but it needs to be on the basis of responsible use. This space has never been open before we opened the Unlibrary there, as it's very private, so the people using it need to be responsible. Which some groups of students just haven't been.

Library staff are very engaged and are happy to help with just about everything, but monitoring this space at all times would mean extra manpower. Since we have a community of people using the Unlibrary space, we've decided that if one of us is there, students could use it; but as we're all volunteers, we can't commit to staffing the space all the time.

There is also a link to this forum, where people can ask us directly. I'd like to respond to Rob, if anyone has contact details for him?

Maybe respond via the Hornsey Journal? 
It would be good to publicly defend the reason why it is locked when unmonitored.

HoL's weekly bulletin contains the following insert

We're feeling cheeky: Did you know that, according to figures provided by the Journal, Harringay Online has twice as many online readers as the Journal every month?


I can't find the source of the stats but I wonder how many we need until that happens. According to this the paper sells 4,721 copies. 


The Journal does seem to be having a problem with its letters page so responding directly might be difficult.


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