July 20th Meeting ‘Interests Bazaar’ and report back from NPC pensioners Parliament at Blackpool

Report back from the NPC Pensioners Parliament in Blackpool

by delegates  Lourdes Keever and Argyros Arghyrou

‘Interests Bazaar’ 

Retired Yes! but we are busy with hobbies, clubs and campaigns.

Bring your interests and hear what others are doing.


Time and date:         WEDNESDAY 1.30 pm July 20th 2016

Venue:                         Hornsey Parish Church Hall,

                                      Cranley Gardens, N10 3AH

Entrance on Cranley Gardens through car park. Served by buses W7 W3 144 stop nearby.  Doors open from 1pm.


Outing to Myddelton House Garden on August 17th

Pickup at 11.30 in the car park of the Hornsey Church Cranley Gardens. N10 3AH. If there are people coming from Muswell Hill we will arrange a second pick up point there.

Setting off at 11.30 will allow people to have lunch out at the gardens, and we will be back no later than 4 pm.

Transport is a wheelchair accessible mini van. There are 3 wheelchairs to borrow at Myddelton House on a first come first serviced basis. If people need someone to push them they will need to bring someone with them however, but the carer would be able to go free.

The cost is £10 with booking fee £3 to secure a place.

Please sign up at the next meeting or contact       Barbara Ryan on 0208 889 8357 or Ann Anderson on 0208 340 8335 or any other member of the committee.

You can pay on the day but advisable to phone and check if there is space in the mini van.

Myddelton House Gardens are on the outskirts of Enfield, and the house was built in 1812. There are 8 acres of garden, including a carp lake, formal and kitchen garden, alpine garden and   meadow.

There is a small museum a visitors centre and a cafe for lunch or afternoon tea.


Report of June 15th meeting

Summary of talk at HPAG public meeting 15th June 2016

My Library My Right: what is happening in our local libraries?

Mark Taylor Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

Mark began by explaining the purpose of CILIP and highlighting its campaign ‘My Library My Right’ for the public to have full access to libraries and information. Libraries are very well used with 225 million visits p.a. – more popular than football or tourism. 190 million books are lent each year with 27million hours of free access. But 340 libraries have shut since 2010 and 8,000 library jobs have been lost – if that was the steel industry it would be big news. In Haringey no libraries have been shut but the workforce has been halved.

Libraries have the power to bring together knowledge from disparate sources and make it accessible. The origins of scholarly libraries stretch back 4,000 years to ancient tablets in Iraq and the famous Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt 3rd Century BC that was burned down.

The first public libraries emerged within the Roman Empire. Later religious and monastic libraries were developed. When the technology of paper emerged from China many more libraries were established. During the later Enlightenment period libraries were established for the public good. Manchester Library was built in 1653, the British (Museum) Library 1753. Later miners in Leadhill, Scotland established a library for their children.

In 1850 the first law was passed for local authorities to raise money to erect buildings for libraries. Then philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie purchased the books to furnish them. These laws raised issues like how much to rise from taxes? how much to charge? Would there be damage to commercial business ? e.g. booksellers. In 1850 it was proposed that all good university libraries should open their doors but very few still do.

Circulating libraries like those of WH Smith, Boots and Harrods developed but gradually closed by the late 1950’s.

The 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act specified that the establishment function of libraries was a statutory duty of both national and local government. Libraries should be comprehensive, efficient and accessible. The Secretary of State responsible for libraries is John Whittingdale and the Minister is Ed Vaizey.

The Internet has dramatically changed the way we store and access knowledge and information. It has opened up many opportunities for those with digital skills. But an estimated 11million people are offline yet 90% of future jobs will require online skills. In 2016 99% of libraries make Wifi available, children are being taught how to code, 3D printing is being used innovatively e.g. to assist hip operations. The ethos in the UK has always been that collecting     information is to enable people to benefit from it – thus recognising the statutory obligation.

However now library staffs are being reduced, budgets are cut, library buildings repurposed. The government eliminated quangos in its early days including those that were active on behalf of libraries. Austerity has been introduced with no thought of its impact on local communities.

Have libraries modernised? Was CILIP ready? Has it done enough to persuade people how important   libraries are? Libraries can improve people’s health, and provide them with opportunities for learning and development.

Some politicians have said that Libraries are like parks – they are nice but you don’t have to have them! Central government has forgotten its duty to oversee libraries. CILIP has worked with Conservative politicians and sought legal advice about the 1964 Libraries Act. Are local authorities and central government failing in their duties?

CILIP has used the threat of legal action to institute its campaign My Library My Right. This has received a lot of support. It is monitoring press reports about libraries, helping people to lobby their MPs and bring pressure on the Minister, Ed Vaizey with some success.

When libraries have consulted locally on proposed changes they have not always informed central government. When they do the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)t can intervene as they did when West Berkshire proposed closing 8 of its 9 libraries.

The Independent Library Report for England (18.12.2014) called for a national strategy to articulate what public libraries in England are for and why they are a force for good for us all. Then at the request of the DCMS the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce developed a draft Ambition document that was consulted on between March and June this year. A national strategy is due to published in July this year which is expected to include regional coordination.

What do people want from libraries? good books, friendly staff, events, family history, nice buildings, Wi-Fi, open at accessible hours, lending eBooks. The USA is ahead of us in this respect. Michel Obama has actively promoted libraries.

Despite the problems of the last 6 years many libraries are still working effectively. If they work with museums and schools to modernise they can survive.


  1. What does CILIP think of Community Libraries with volunteers?

A: A difficult q. for CILIP because they work to       professional staff. Volunteers can have a role but only to complement staff and not replace skilled and trained professionals. Haringey has not yet gone down this route. Lewisham is trying to sell off its   libraries.

  1. Has CILIP included users in its campaigns.
  2. CILIP has not in the past included users of libraries in its campaigns. However the new campaign central government team is doing that.
  3. Barnet has closed most of its libraries and the   remaining ones are run by volunteers. How can the people of Barnet get their libraries back?

A: Libraries might work as community trusts to give them more freedom and independence.

Q: Is it true that some libraries use algorithms (computer programmes) to select and buy books?

A: It would be possible to do that but very unusual.

Q: I sit in on lots of general local discussions about libraries and a lot of time is spent talking about giving more space to Customer services. What should a   library look like?

A: It’s not good if e.g. you have to walk through a children’s library to get to a C.A.B.

Q: Libraries are places for signposting. What services should they provide and where? Does the Libraries Act specify how many books there should be per 100k population?

A: It depends on how you define a library. What are statutory and non-statutory libraries? Are libraries in the right places? Many library buildings were erected in the Victorian era and localities have greatly changed since then.

Mark was thanked for his talk and presented with a small gift.

Kathryn Dean

(Clive Evers produced a full transcript; ask if you want this.)


Protect Character of Libraries in Change

broadway logoRead the article in Broadway Ham and High by Kathryn Dean entitled ‘Protect Character of Libraries in Change’ on page 14  Click Here



A consultation is being carried out by Haringey Council on a proposed relocation of Muswell Hill Library.

Friends of Muswell Hill Library recommend that residents should strongly agree with the option to stay in the present building and strongly disagree with the proposed relocation.

For a copy of their report as sent to the council two months ago  Click Here   This explains why.


June Meeting and report of May meeting


‘What is happening in our local libraries?’

  Mark Taylor, Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals

Time and date: WEDNESDAY 1.30 pm June 15th 2016

Venue: Hornsey Parish Church Hall,

Cranley Gardens, N10 3AH

Entrance on Cranley Gardens through car park. Served by buses W7 W3 144 stop nearby.

Doors open from 1pm.

The talk on May 18th was

“The EU Referendum: what is it all about?”

Speakers  were:  Angela Pollitzer who had  worked for 22 years at the European Commission and Steve Jefferys, Emeritus Professor in Employment Relations

page 1 May

A well attended meeting at Hornsey Parish Church Hall


Angela Pollitzer began by briefing us on how to vote on June 23rd; this is only 5 weeks away. One can register to vote by midnight of June 7th, and request a postal vote by 5pm on June 8th.

There is only one ballot paper, on which we put a cross beside ‘Remain a member of EU’, OR beside ‘Leave the EU’

She brought a large number of booklets; these covered all aspects of how the EU affects our lives such as over fifties, families etc.  The main one was ’How the European Union works’ that is very comprehensive and includes contact details for getting in touch with the EU.

A summary sheet was also provided to explain terms and organisations. It included the historical origins; in 1950 France and Germany wanted economic collaboration to establish peaceful relations and in 1951 six founding nations signed the Treaty of Paris. The current European Union has 28 Member States. The summary sheet is included with the newsletter.

Angela pinned a map on the wall showing the current Member States of the EU.

Six years ago, the Coalition government launched consultations with interest groups, experts, business communities; the published report covered every aspect of the EU (2013-14).  This was called the UK Government’s Balance of Competences Review.

The review did not recommend transfer of competences to the national level


Angela Pollitzer - speaking at the May 18 meeting

Angela Pollitzer – speaking at the May 18 meeting

Angela explained the procedure if the UK leaves the EU. A period of 2 years is available to negotiate a “Withdrawal agreement”.

If a Member State leaves, it would need to reapply as if for the 1st time, if it changes its mind

Essential issues to negotiate include Security (especially for Ireland), Single Market, Acquired rights of nationals

The European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland,  Liechtenstein) would have to agree whether to admit a new member.

The following information was not included in her talk.

Angela’s personal experience was several years as a Social Worker in Personnel for staff problems, then 13 years as a Desk Officer in ECHO, EU’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection department. ECHO aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Find out more at ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm  – Daily Flash, Press Releases, Fact Sheets, Field Blogs, Funding Decisions

Emergency Toolbox – Epidemics, Small-scale Response, Support to IFRC (Int. Fed. of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies) DREF (Disaster Relief Emergency Fund)

In 2014 EU provided emergency assistance for 121 million people in over 80 countries via EUR 1.2 million (less than 1% total EU budget)

Angela answered questions that included:

The European Court of Justice- this has a judge from each Member State,

Financial aspects– UK contributions are small compared with what we get back in the form of environmental and regional support,

Democratic balance– the European Parliament can now question all prospective Commissioners, approving or disapproving of their nomination, and can even dissolve the whole Commission” .

Steve Jefferys was the next speaker; his research has focussed on employment relations. His talk examined how the EU has been affecting employment patterns and what would change if the UK left. He used slides; ask if you would like these.

Referring to the title, “The EU Referendum: what is it all about?”, Steve indicated that a pledge to hold a referendum on EU membership was in the Conservative manifesto in order to fend off political challenge from UKIP.  He suggested the issue of migration is the underlying issue.

Data on the movement of people shows that over the last five years more UK citizens emigrating than those coming in. One million UK citizens now live in Spain. Steve examined various impacts of migration.

About 16% of those in employment are now immigrants. What is their impact on low-skilled workers’ wages? Steve’s scattergrams showed that the effect on UK low-skilled varied according to county, but net effect was not significant.

Steve examined various impacts of migration.

About 16% of those in employment are now immigrants.

What is their impact on low-skilled workers’ wages? Steve’s scattergrams showed that the effect on UK low-skilled varied according to county, but net effect was not significant.

His data showed that migrants are mostly working in low-skilled jobs in food processing, domestic service, clothing, restaurants, accommodation,  buildings and security, but also in high-skilled jobs in air transport, research and computers. Migrants are more likely to live in private rented accommodation than British-born workers. Extreme rises in property   values was not associated with large proportions of EU migrants.

Steve considered that leaving the EU would not abate overall immigration levels, but it could remove some protection given by the Health & Safety directives and Discrimination directives for workers. The European Convention on Human Rights could also be lost and with it the right to form and join a trade union

Steve answered questions on democratic transparency, freedom of speech, unfair treatment of refugees, and possible effects if the UK left the EU.

There was enthusiastic thanks for Angela and Steve. They also helped with the raffle and joined us for  refreshments and further informal discussion.


For supplementary information on the EU please  CLICK HERE 

Click here for more information