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Statement from Friends Of Lambeth Libraries on March 4th 2016

Statement below from Friends of Lambeth Libraries in response to the announcement today from London Borough of Lambeth that they intend to press ahead with most of the unpopular Culture2020 plan: the Staff/community alternative plan is REJECTED, Minet and Carnegie still to be converted to gyms, Waterloo closed and staffing withdrawn from Upper Norwood. Tate South Lambeth has temporary reprieve.

 

SAVE LAMBETH’S 10 LIBRARIES!

WINDRUSH SQUARE, 10.30am TOMORROW

MORE REASON THAN EVER TO COME!

Lambeth council has tried to buy off library supporters by making one concession – while leaving its appalling library plan largely intact.

THE CONCESSION?
Durning and Tate South Lambeth libraries are both spared the fate of being turned into gyms – after a massive response to its skewed consultation showed that NO community wants to lose a library and get a ‘healthy living centre’.

That still leaves Minet and Carnegie on the gym list. Both are due to close on April 1st. The council will then spend millions on wrecking them to instal gyms that nobody wants or needs.

Waterloo library is also to close on April 1st – for ever. No replacement is in sight.

FUNNY THING…
But the communities around Minet, Carnegie and Waterloo have also shown 100% opposition to the council’s plans. Hundreds have demonstrated, signed petitions and written to the council. Why won’t the council listen to them?

DON’T STEAL OUR LIBRARIES!
This remains the slogan for tomorrow’s demonstration. All the threatened libraries were gifted by philanthropists, on strict
condition that Lambeth fund them to run as libraries. They belong to the people. They are not a council slush pile to wreck, give away or sell as it pleases.

THERE IS STILL AN ALTERNATIVE
We still support the library management plan to keep all 10 much-needed libraries.
It will take time to analyse the council’s convoluted response. But major points seem to be:
* “There’s no time to put it into place.”
That’s because Lambeth officers ignored the plan when presented last April. Otherwise there would have been ample time.
* “The plan does not conform to the culture2020 plan.”
That’s because culture2020 is determined to destroy five libraries, while
the librarian’s plan would keep them open.
* “We can’t afford it.”
That argument has never been true. Lambeth saves more by keeping the libraries open than by wrecking them. And there’s up to £7m (capital and revenue) set to be poured into its own plan. An ounce of goodwill would solve the problems.

DIVIDE AND RULE WON’T WORK
Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library say: “We are relieved that Lambeth has responded to the strong backing of the local community for the
maintenance of our library – and the strong opposition to its replacement by a gym with a minimal library service.
“We were lucky that the consultation on the future of TSL and Durning libraries gave the community an opportunity to express its opinion. Other Lambeth libraries under threat have not been given this chance. Mindful that our library has been given only a temporary reprieve, we
remain in solidarity with the campaign to save all Lambeth libraries.”

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