I was a latch Key Kid, thank God for the library


When I was a little girl, the library in Sydenham was my sanctuary. My home life was very tense and we were either sent out of the house or couldn’t get into the house. I was a latch key kid.  I was scared of the Librarians who were always very stern, but that didn’t hurt because I have a sense of respect for authority. How many under privileged children have that regard these days. I read everything going, I read every single book by Richmal Crompton, the ‘Just William’ series.  I loved those books they would make me roar with laughter. I had a choice in those days sit on the doorstep and wait for the parents to come home or go to the library, the library won.  So recently with the libraries closing down it has brought back a lot of memories for me.  I have been volunteering lately and one of the libraries was the Pepys Resource Centre in Deptford, a lovely building that was once used as a library and has recently been taken over by Eco-Computer Systems who have introduced a small library. E.C.S have also taken over the running of three libraries that were earmarked for closure, these are Crofton Park, Grove Park, and my old haunt Sydenham

New Cross library was the only one that E.C.S didn’t get.  That one that seemed as if it was to be abandoned and maybe let to a large retail store.  So we must give a big hand to all the campaigners led by the formidable duo, Kathy Dunbar and Gill Hart who were seen for months walking the streets of New Cross gathering support against the closure of the Library.

I was lucky enough to meet these two lovely ladies and become a small part of their dream   I had sat with them when it seemed that they may not win, but every obstacle they faced, they overcame and forged on.

The result New Cross Library is open. I know all the arguments over volunteers running libraries, but believe me I have seen latch key kids using both Pepys Resource Centre and New Cross, I look at those children sitting there reading books and using the computers, and it brings a little tear to my eye without them where would these children sit. Not all children want to join gangs,do you remember the pleasure of reading a book to escape the reality of a hard life, well I do. There is a lovely atmosphere in New Cross it is brimming with people and there are all sorts of activities going on. Knitting club, how to make E.books, story telling for children, it is a lovely space, so if you are around please pop in and show your support.


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