The feisty OAP on a one-woman crusade to save Luton’s libraries

On a one-woman crusade: Doreen Steinberg
On a one-woman crusade: Doreen Steinberg

Luton senior citizen Doreen Steinberg is a woman with a mission.

She’s determined to overturn the council’s decision to close three of the town’s libraries and has even taught herself to use social media in her quest for justice.

“I never knew how to Tweet but now I can,” she claimed, adding with obvious pride: “We’ve also got a website – – and a Facebook page, Luton Libraries Arise.”

Doreen, 74, of Saywell Road describes herself as “a child of Churchill.”

She said: “I was born in London in January 1940 during the Blitz and I remember everything, right from when I was tiny.

“I can remember Churchill’s speeches. He fought for democracy. He never gave in and never backed down. And that’s exactly how I am.”

She’s absolutely incensed at what she sees as the council’s intransigence and economy with the truth regarding the closures earlier this year.

The charity Luton Culture, which runs the libraries on behalf of Luton Borough Council, shut down Wigmore, Sundon Park and the mobile library after the council faced a funding cut of £1.5m.

A Freedom if Information request revealed that money received from the Airport Trust was specifically earmarked for libraries during the period 2011- 2015, a fact later denied by the council (check).

Doreen fumed: “It’s unethical, it’s shocking, it’s a disgrace.”

She’s particularly cross about Wigmore and said: “We presented the council with a petition containing 10,000 signatures. But Maggie Appleton of Luton Culture (check) dismissed it as ‘just signatures.’

She added: “During this whole sorry saga of misinformation and denial, we have met with nothing but arrogant disdain for democracy and complete indifference.

“They are discriminating against children, the elderly and the disabled as well as the unemployed, who are left without an internet service with which to look for work.”

Sundon Park mother-of-two Claire Lee, 43, is also fighting the closures.

She said: “Doreen wants to get the Wigmore library reinstated but our campaign has changed tack.

“The Sundon Park library has been here for 54 years and it’s an iconic building. We’ve joined forces with another community group and put an ‘asset lock’ on it. This has triggered a moratorium which means the council cannot sell it.

“We’re trying to raise funds to run the building as part library, part community centre and we’ve asked Luton Culture to support us in any way they can.”

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