A GROUP of people have occupied New Cross Library in protest over its threatened closure.

Around 20 people have stayed in the building, in New Cross Road, since 5pm today (February 5) and will continue to occupy the area until midday tomorrow.

The action comes on the same day as national Save Our Libraries Day, which saw more than 80 Read-In events held across the UK to bring attention to proposed government spending cuts.

More than 350 libraries are understood to be under threat of closure, including libraries in New Cross, Sydenham, Crofton Park, Blackheath and Grove Park.

Linda Manwaxing, aged 57, who protested at New Cross Library, said: “I think it’s a valuable service.

“There’s many families who could be classified as receiving a low income, so expensive book stores are out of the question for them.

“It’s a place to bring your children, which is safe.”

Wendy Dyer, who was singing at the library with the Strawberry Thieves Choir, said: “It’s a really valuable service for families and is good for education.

“Not everyone can afford to go out and buy books so it will be a big loss to the community.

“It’s part of our heritage. You can’t just take that away.”

Organiser James Holland, said: “The Read-In was something that was called nationally. It fits perfectly with what the mayor is doing on February 17.

“We said just come to the library and use it in a visual way. It was about coming together locally and showing how much we love the library.”

Mr Holland, who supported the occupation, said: “I’m really happy for people to do it. I think people should take control of the things they care about.

“People pay their taxes for things like this and it’s not coming through.”

John Hamilton, who runs the Strawberry Thieves Choir, said: “I don’t agree with the public sector cuts.

“At a Lewisham level I think the way Steve Bullock has chosen to implement the cuts is in a way which is damaging particularly to the poorer parts of Lewisham.”

Strawberry Thieves Choir

The Strawberry Thieves Choir sang in protest over the threatened closure of the library inside and outside the building.

The words in their song, We’ll Fight On, included:

“We will fight on against the cuts”

“We will not pay the bankers debts”

“Why should the poorest fit the bill?”

“We will defend the NHS”

The Save Lewisham’s Libraries song included:

“Arise, yh readers from your slumbers, Our libraries must stay intact.

Steve Bullock’s plan to cut their numbers Is a grossly stupid act.”