A claim by Herne Hill Labour in an election leaflet that last year Lambeth “issued more items in our libraries than ever before” is… pure fiction.

Libraries campaigner Aran Lewis made a Freedom of Information Act request to Lambeth council for figures for loans of library stock back on April 3rd and was supposed to get an answer on May 1st – two days before the council elections.

Lambeth’s reply finally arrived on May 11th – even after Aran had contacted Lambeth’s FOI team and asked them: “Can you either supply the information I have requested, or explain why it has taken so long.

“The data has already been given to Lambeth Labour, as demonstrated by their statement; all you have to do is pass it on to me. “Even if you need to obtain the data again, it is a quick and simple search on the council’s library management system.”

When Lambeth’s FOI department did supply the figures they only dated back to 2012-13. Figures from CIPFA and Lambeth council show that there were 835,419 issues back in 2005-06. Numbers fell to 629,119 in 2013-14, were 746,548 in 2015-16, falling to 681,882 in 2016-17 before rising last year to 744,978.

Figures obtained by News From Crystal Palace for the ten ‘libraries’ show issues and renewals April 2017 to March 2018; Issues and renewals April 2016 to March 2017 and percentage difference plus or minus

Brixton 150,147 / 133,680 / 12.32

Carnegie 2,993 / 5,049 / -40.72

Clapham 119,297 / 108,106 / 10.35

Durning 58,330 / 46,615 / 25.13

Minet 3,207 / 2 ,504 / 28.08

South Lambeth 63,771 / 58,456 / 9.09

Streatham 159,756 / 152,252 / 4.93

Upper Norwood 57,854 / 60,422 / -4.25*

Waterloo 16,194 / 17,891 / -9.49

West Norwood 51,615 /  42,126 / 22.53

Issues and renewals for March 2018 (March 2017 figures in brackets) show Upper Norwood had 6,927 (4,896) up by 41.4 per cent;  Carnegie had 1,054 (197)  up by 435 pc. Waterloo 1,300 (1,399) minus 7.08.

*Upper Norwood closed for refurbishment from 20 March

Further reading: Community groups endorse Labour’s approach to libraries Posted by LAMBETH LABOUR 10pc on April 03, 2018 (National Labour party website): “Despite these cuts, in Lambeth we’ve kept all 10 of our libraries open and last year issued more items in our libraries than ever before.”



  1. Just to remind everyone: Carnegie Library was CLOSED from 31 March 2016 to mid-February 2018, since when it has been PARTIALLY reopened. Minet was closed 31 March 2016 to summer 2017 then partially reopened. Waterloo & Upper Norwood considerably shrunk and de-staffed. That should put the quoted figures into context and also explode the continuing false claim that Lambeth “kept 10 libraries open”.

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