Gina Potts 0

Misuse of Woolwich Centre Library Children's Section

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We are local parents and regular users of the Woolwich Centre Library Children's Section (Woolwich, Greenwich, London SE18). We very much enjoy the Rhyme Time and other activities at the library as well as the facilities that have been available since the new library opened. 


We are petitioning to raise concerns about the unacceptable atmosphere that has become the norm in this section of the library, and to request immediate action to restore a proper library atmosphere and environment for all users of the space.

We are asking the Management and Staff to use their powers and address the following:

Please enforce respectful use of the library space by all users to create an appropriate library environment by actively enforcing library rules of use.

Please remove the unnecessary climbing and play equipment (pirate ship, etc) which has turned the section in to a play area rather than a library. Children are running, climbing and playing noisily, disrupting those that wish to sit and read to their children. Children who normally do wish to read are being distracted by the presence of active play equipment and other children who run around making noise and being disrespectful to others wishing to read. This is not conducive or appropriate to a library environment.

Please make sure that noise levels are kept under control, that parents are in close vicinity to their own children (within eye sight rather than other side of the building!) and expect parents to monitor and control their child's behaviour so that the appropriate library environment can be maintained. It seems some parents use the space as a kind of crèche and regularly leave children unattended for long periods. Leaving one’s children unattended can clearly put children at serious risk; and library staff and other parents cannot be expected to mind other’s children.

Please ensure users stop regularly consuming food in the area, especially food that is messy and smelly. Parents have been observed consuming whole fried chicken dinners or handing out sticky jam donuts to large groups of children. Food is then left on the floor and greasy or sticky fingers can ruin the books. It is understandable that babies and toddlers may need milk or little snack during a visit, however, consuming whole meals, often as a planned picnic, at the library is simply unfair to other users and disrespectful of the library environment and the book collection.

We believe the above is important because the library is a space that enables parents and children to enjoy time sitting and reading together, but this only works well in a conducive environment. Attending the library with one’s children helps children to learn to read, to sit quietly, concentrate and listen to stories, to have space think and to understand what a library is actually for. The current environment in the Children’s Section fails to provide this.

There are local facilities, some of which are also free, where children can run and climb and play; including the many open park spaces and playgrounds in SE18, the Waterfront and other leisure facilities, the Sure Start Centres and more. Parents wishing to engage their children in active play can be encouraged to use those spaces as appropriate, whilst those wishing to read to their children can make use of the library.

We feel strongly that the library must remain a library and we urge the management and staff of the Woolwich Centre Library to therefore please take action and help restore our library to a proper space to read and enjoy books and story time with our children.


Many of the parents who are behind this petition have indicated they are willing to offer voluntary assistance to help aid improvement. 


Thank you.


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