ABOUT OUR CAMPAIGN TO SAVE LAMBETH’S LIBRARIES
In October 2015 Lambeth Council has announced it will decommission half of our libraries. Minet, South Lambeth, Durning, Upper Norwood, Carnegie and Waterloo all might close if we don’t act.
Then, it was proposed that Minet, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth libraries should be turned into gyms, run by leisure centre contractor GLL. The proposal is for these to have so-called ‘lounges’ with a small selection of books – but no staff. Upper Norwood Joint Library will also lose its staff. Lambeth is calling these ‘neighbourhood libraries’. We do not accept that such provision can be called libraries. The remaining libraries, already under pressure, will become overcrowded, staff and book stock will be reduced.
Since, public pressure has delivered a temporary reprieve for Tate South Lambeth. However Minet and Carnegie are still due to close on April 1st and Upper Norwood left without staff and the alternative plan put forward by the current Head of Libraries has been rejected.
Even in a time of cuts, we do not believe that this is sensible or necessary. We are resisting these plans and coming up with alternatives of our own.
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.
We are library users and staff working together to save Lambeth’s library service. We support wholeheartedly the alternative plan by Lambeth’s current Head of Libraries for a community and staff mutual service.
There are many things you can do to help the campaign. Please make sure also to visit your library, talk to the librarians, and contact your local friends’ group.
Film with interviews by Tim Peterick