Members of the public were thrown out of a Greenwich Council meeting on Wednesday after campaigners erupted in fury at the abrupt closure of the borough’s mobile library service.

Unite steward Sian Stringer was presenting follow-up questions on a petition opposing the closure of the mobile library service.

She started off by pointing out that the petition, submitted on March 30, had not been answered until July.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald had stated in her written answer that a new outreach service would include class visits to libraries, staff visits to schools and a housebound service which will deliver deposit collections to the 35 nurseries and schools covered by the existing mobile vehicle.

Ms Stringer said: “We were promised the mobile library wouldn’t be closed until the enhanced library service was in place.

“There is no enhanced home library service in place.

“However we received notice last Wednesday that the mobile library service is closing on Friday.

“We have nurseries that are booked in over summer, we’re now being told we should take them a deposit collection – that’s a box of books.”

When Cllr Scott-McDonald’s answered that the approach set out would improve the existing home delivery library service, Unite regional officer Onay Kasab shouted “there isn’t one”.

When he was asked to leave the chamber, the public gallery erupted in frustrated shouting.

The gallery was then cleared, with the meeting resuming ten minutes later without Mr Kasab present.


Mr Kasab told News Shopper: “They say they are going to bus children from schools to libraries.

“We said ‘what’s the point’? You might as well keep the mobile library service.

“I think what angered people was the amount of bullshit they were told about alternative provisions.”

Cllr Scott-McDonald said: “It is disappointing that Unite would disrupt a Council meeting over a Cabinet decision to make common sense changes to the mobile library service.

“There will be no staff redundancies as a result of these changes and the 33,000 book issues the service currently makes will be maintained if not increased.

“The tired, old mobile library service with declining subscribers is one of the very last operating in London.

“We are changing it so that it can meet the demands of the digital age.

“These measures will safeguard literacy while continuing to encourage our children to develop a love of books and reading.”