On Wednesday, 6th April, local residents received a new leaflet from Lambeth Council about the closure of Carnegie Library.
- We are occupying Carnegie Library to prevent its closure to the public until next year and subsequent re-opening as a fee-charging gym run by GLL (a company that runs Lambeth’s leisure centres), a plan which is deeply unpopular locally.
- There are no floor plans yet for the conversion. All the books and library facilities are intact and library staff are still in post. We do not believe it is necessary to close the library.
- An unstaffed ‘lounge’ with an as yet unspecified number of books and IT facilities will be the only remaining community resource in the building.
- The planned lounge will almost certainly not be able to be used by unaccompanied under 16s as it has no staff. This lounge is what Lambeth Council calls a “neighbourhood library”.
- Campaigners see this plan as an effective closure of the library and have been opposing this step, and other closures in Lambeth, for more than 6 months through democratic channels such as writing to Councillors and sending delegations to Council meetings.
- Unison librarians have taken industrial action on 4 different days to oppose the plans.
- No negotiation with campaigners has taken place during this period and a constructive solution of a community and staff mutual was rejected on criteria that we do not believe has been applied to GLL, so we have had no choice but to occupy.
- The occupation has received massive community support, expressed through donations of food and bedding, many emails and tweets and attendance of our rallies on the steps.
- The occupation will end when Lambeth Council acknowledge that they have made a misjudgement in their plans for all of Lambeth Libraries and sit down with the community and staff for a truly constructive and honest discussion that will secure the Carnegie Library and other Lambeth libraries into the long term
We hope this clarifies our position.