- Campaign meeting 13th October report… Campaigners met to plan next actions in the ongoing battle to save our libraries. Lambeth Labour group continues to peddle its expensive spin that libraries are safe in their hands, with 2 half-day exhibitions of their plans for Carnegie Library. Choosing times when anyone at work, school or college couldn’t attend, they ...
- Young Occupier is Student of the Year! Young library campaigner and one of our Carnegie library occupiers, Rosa, wins Student of the year award! The award is given by First Give, an organisation that encourages and trains school students to work for good causes. More than 20,000 students from 107 schools took part this year, including Rosa’s, The Charter ...
- Notes and Actions: since the summer…campaign meeting 29th September 2016 Summer campaigning… Campaigners have continued to meet regularly over the summer to organise ourselves and make sure we continue to challenge the council over their library plans. We continue to press the council to re-open the two closed libraries – Carnegie and Minet – which are costing far more to keep locked ...
At Carnegie Library: Carnegie Chess club – hosted at the library for many years – continues on the steps of of the library (weather permitting), 2pm Saturdays. Wednesday 7pm: weekly get-together for supporters, yellow ribbon tying on the railings.
At Minet Library: Fortnightly gardening, banner making and music outside the library and a chance to meet the Friends’ group. 11am Saturdays.
At Brixton Library: Fortnightly campaign meeting, next meeting Thurs 13th September.
About our campaign to save Lambeth’s libraries
In October 2015 Lambeth Council has announced it would decommission half of our libraries. Minet, South Lambeth, Durning, Upper Norwood, Carnegie and Waterloo
It was proposed that Minet, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth libraries should be turned into gyms, run by leisure centre contractor GLL. The proposal was for these to have so-called ‘lounges’ with a small selection of books – but no staff. Upper Norwood Joint Library would also lose its staff. Lambeth is calling these unstaffed spaces ‘neighbourhood libraries’. We do not accept that such provision can be called libraries and therefore have been campaigning against these closures. We predicted that the remaining libraries, already under pressure, will become overcrowded, staff and book stock will be reduced.
Much has happened since October last year and there is still a lot to campaign for. Tate South Lambeth received a stay of execution after residents used a consultation as well as protests and petitions to express overwhelming opposition to the conversion to a gym. However its future, and the future of Durning Library also in the North of Lambeth remains uncertain.
Again, following campaigning and in the face of a local byelection, Upper Norwood Library had its lifetime extended, but the building is still being handed to a trust and there will be only one librarian instead of five.
1st April marked the day when the doors of the historic and loved Minet and Carnegie libraries would close to the public. With communities unable to accept their closure, Carnegie library was occupied in what became a high-profile action that shamed the decision makers. The occupation received overwhelming local support and library campaigners far and wide linked their own struggles to that action.
Minet and Carnegie Libraries remain closed during this cruical exam period, but Defendthe10 are fighting for common sense to prevail and for them to be re-opened to the public. Recent FOI requests have shown that it costs more for the libraries to be closed than open to the public. Read more in an article by Peter Walker for the Guardian. Other FOI requests have shown the that Lambeth’s plans for the gyms and unstaffed libraries are in disarray. These buildings that belong to the public have their doors locked and expensive security arrangements in place to keep local communitities out. Local Labour Party Councillor Rachel Heywood dared to speak up for the libraries and for common sense. From her colleagues in the Council she received a 6 month sanction. From local people she has gained much support. Please sign the petition to support Rachel and the freedom of local representatives to express their views. Lambeth have now said that will put its plans for the Gym on hold until important work relating to the location of the Lambeth Archives is complete. In the meantime we are campaigning for the Library to be re-opened. See the Carnegie Friends’ website for more information. There is much campaigning still to do to save these libraires.
Waterloo library closed its doors on the very day of the Summer Reading Challenge launch party for children! It has been replaced by an almost unstaffed facility in the Christian Oasis Centre.
Even in a time of cuts, we do not believe that closing libraries is sensible or necessary. We are dedicated to resisting these plans and coming up with alternatives of our own. An alternative plan by Lambeth’s own head of libraries which would have achieved savings and kept all 10 libraries open was first ignored, and then rejected by Lambeth Council.
Our libraries—which last year had 1.3 million visits—provide a vital service, helping people to access information, benefits, government services as well as books, the Internet and activities for children. Libraries are essential for access to information and education. With Minet and Carnegie closed, the remaining library spaces- at Streatham, Clapham, Brixton and at the small temporary library in West Norwood – are even more under pressure than usual.
We are library users and staff working together to save Lambeth’s library service.
Contact us at:
Come to one of our fortnightly public meetings or other events
See the events page
Display a window poster
Sign the campaign petition
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