Two of Lambeth’s libraries are being funded from OUTSIDE the council’s libraries budget – on a month-by-month basis, say Friends of Carnegie Library.
The astonishing claim is that both the Durning library at 167 Kennington Lane, SE11 and Tate South Lambeth library at 180 South Lambeth Rd, Vauxhall, SW8 – two of four libraries which Lambeth wanted to move gyms into – are being funded ONE MONTH AT A TIME from an undisclosed council budget.
The claim comes in an article headed “Some Context” written by Nicholas Edwards on the Friends of Carnegie Library website.
The article says: “Lambeth has been pursuing the current round of library closures on and off since 1999, saying that 10 libraries should be reduced to five “town centre libraries” or “centres of excellence,” though in fact six of the ten libraries are threatened with permanent closure:
Carnegie library: Closed since March 2016. Proposed temporary funding as a gym, library and “church hall.”
Durning library: Temporarily reprieved from closure. No longer funded from the Libraries budget but instead funded one month at a time from an undisclosed Council budget.
Minet library: A limited library service is being provided pending relocation of the borough’s archives, which are housed in the same building.
Tate South Lambeth library: As Durning library
Upper Norwood Library Hub: Surviving on temporary funding from Croydon and Lambeth councils which is due to expire two months after the council elections.
Waterloo library: Currently housed in a small room temporarily available behind a cafe in an evangelical Christian centre.
The article continues:
“Public opposition has kept the council at bay for the past 19 years and Defend the 10 are continuing a determined campaign to keep all the libraries.
“Although Lambeth’s current plans for our library are unworkable, Carnegie Library Association (the unsuccessful bidder for the library – Ed.) have produced a fully-costed business plan which uses the income-generating potential of the building to cover its costs and produce a surplus to buy in a library service from Lambeth in the spaces we had before closure.
“Lambeth have rejected the plan so far but the Association continue to offer it and make clear that they are ready to take over the whole building.
“The current work to the basement will reduce its rental value because the basement office previously used by the library Home Visit Service would be lost.
“This loss would only be partly compensated for by the excavation increasing by 150 per cent the lettable area of the windowless part of the basement. “But the overall amount concerned is only about £3,500 a year and not therefore of great importance.
“Fortunately most of the changes Lambeth plan to the ground floor are reversible by a combination of voluntary and paid work.
“The necessary money should be easy to crowd fund because the Association has hundreds of members and many more local people want the library back on a long-term genuinely sustainable basis.”
News From Crystal Palace have emailed Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth’s cabinet member for culture, asking if she has any response to the above. The email has been cc’d to the council’s press office.