We would like to thank Victoria Oliphant for her support in terms of press coverage in the Harrow Times regarding library services and closure.

It has given our campaign much-needed visibility and we hope readers who have followed this story are aware how unjustly Harrow Borough Council has exercised its authority in terms of the future of library services in the borough.

We are extremely disappointed with the way things have panned out.

The fact that residents’ views have been completely disregarded makes the outcome all the more difficult to accept, especially since the council’s Labour administration has always projected itself as the ‘listening’ government.

The January issue of Harrow People magazine quoted Councillor Sue Anderson stating: “My job title reflects what this administration is all about — putting people’s views at the heart of what the council does.

“We will keep on doing that to ensure the local authority walks in step with our residents and the voluntary and community sector.”

Empty words and broken promises are what come to mind — 15,000 signed petitions, 140 posters from schoolchildren, an open letter with 31 community leaders as signatories, and more than 71 per cent of respondent in the Take Part consultation in favour of keeping libraries open — all pleading to keep four libraries from closing.

If Harrow’s Labour council was truly walking in step with residents and their views, then these four libraries would not be closing its doors to the community come May 16.

Many different options were presented to the council.

We are not convinced that these were given any serious consideration as they did not involve an open dialogue. We presented and there were no follow-up questions or discussion digging deeper on any of the options.

Surely, if there was a vested interest in keeping the libraries open we would have entered into a two-way discussion with the council?

We have found it hard to come to terms with the outcome of this process. We have fought hard and equipped the council with every possible reason and solution to keeping these libraries open.

The council has robbed this community of a social hub and pretty much isolated this community.

The community around Bob Lawrence Library has often been referred to as the forgotten part of Harrow borough.

With the closure of the library as well as all the connectivity it offers, this community has in its truest sense become a forgotten part of the borough.

We will mourn the loss of this library, as will many of the other patrons who have considered this institution as their lifeline.

I have had people cry in my arms upon reading about the imminent closure.

May 16 is a Black Day for library services, when the shutters come down for the last time.

What will become of the the elderly women who sit by the window flipping through the magazine and books?

What will become of the children who come to the three-times a week rhyme time?

What will become of the school children who use the space to study?

What will become of the people who don’t have access to computers or the internet at home?

What will become of the job- seekers?

What will become of the people who need the resources to build a better future?

What will become of the picture of Cllr Bob Lawrence that sits proudly at the entrance of the Bob Lawrence Library.

Our hearts bleed for them all.

We tried our best, but the odds were stacked up against us before we even started.

It is now out of our hands.

We can only hope that the Harrow Labour Council will look deep into its conscience, do the right thing for this very vulnerable and highly deprived community and reverse its decision.

Farah Sadiq

Bob Lawrence Library campaign team