Library campaigners are lobbying tonight’s full meeting of Lambeth council at the town hall in Brixton (Wednesday).
Organisers Defend the Ten say: “Unfortunately the council have refused our (request for a) deputation but we have to keep the pressure up and we will be lobbying them as they arrive.
“So far with library staff removed, we have lost a library service in Carnegie, Waterloo and Minet libraries and future funding for Tate South Lambeth and Durning libraries is uncertain. “We have to ensure that councillors know that libraries matter!!.
“The council’s meeting tonight falls right in the middle of National Libraries Week – an excellent moment in time to re-make the case for professionally staffed libraries that can offer their essential services to our community.”
Campaigners will be at the town hall from 6.30pm. The council meeting – which includes a written question on libraries from Cllr Becca Thackray (Green, Herne Hill) – starts at 7pm.
Cllr Thackray’s question, under the heading ‘Revision of Culture 2020 policy’, reads as follows:
“In this National Libraries Week, is the cabinet member for equalities and culture prepared to revise a policy which has failed (namely Culture 2020) in order to bring library buildings back under Lambeth council control, which would be cheaper than the current and proposed arrangements with Oasis (Waterloo), CCT (Carnegie) and UNLT (Upper Norwood)?.”
Asked by News From Crystal Palace to supply figures which show that bringing library buildings back under Lambeth council control would be cheaper than the current and proposed arrangements with Oasis (Waterloo library), Carnegie Community Trust (Carnegie library Herne Hill) and Upper Norwood Library Trust (Upper Norwood)? Cllr Thackray told us:
“In 2014/15 Minet cost £116k (£125k today allowing for inflation), Waterloo £130k (£140 today) and Carnegie £178k (£191k today).
“At Minet, the rates/building costs have remained unchanged and there’s been no major building work and some saving on staffing.
“At Carnegie, the main cost is £2.8 million in construction and minor costs like removing Japanese bindweed and issues with the roof. “I believe the roof needs money spent on it. “Till the fire alarm is repaired a security guard is employed on shifts 24/7 (I’ve yet to receive official confirmation of this and that it comes from council funds).
“Waterloo closed in mid 2016; the added costs of £200k since then more than offset any savings. “There are costs for moving and fitting out the current Oasis site and fees to the Oasis school which are in the region of £50k-£100k since 2016.
“Has the council spent more on the borough’s libraries than if none of this had been done? “If you include the Carnegie construction costs then it’s a clear ‘yes’.
“And if Lambeth disagree then let’s see their figures – they certainly haven’t been forthcoming in producing a clear cost outline thus far.”
Further reading: THE COMEDY STORE PLAYS LAMBETH TOWN HALL October 8th 2018 this website
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LAMBETH LIBRARIES – 2018 VERSION October 8th 2018 – which includes the written reply to Cllr Thackray’s question from Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth council’s cabinet minister for culture; and
NATIONAL LIBRARIES WEEK ACTION
To highlight the plight of our ‘stolen’ libraries, campaigners will also be gathering outside Carnegie and Minet libraries with the message to Lambeth council – Libraries need Librarians!
Friday 12th October 6.30pm – Minet Library
Saturday 13th October 2.30pm – Carnegie Library
From Defend the Ten: “Join us in your campaign T-shirts to ‘decorate the library railings’, and on Friday night bring a candle. “We’ll be Tweeting at both events so let’s cause a fuss. “Lambeth’s library plans are failing the community – bring back the staff.”