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Upper Norwood joint library Lambeth libraries Lambeth council Croydon council Norwood park Elder Road Kate Hoey MP

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#1 jerry



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Posted 26 October 2015 - 04:20 PM

LAMBETH LIBRARIES - WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON? - Upper Norwood "won't be staffed" says Cllr Tim Godfrey.

Like many others,  I attended Lambeth council's cabinet meeting at Dunraven school, Streatham where plans were agreed to turn five of the borough's libraries - Carnegie, Minet, Tate Souith Lambeth, Waterloo and Upper Norwood joint library - into neighbourhood libraries.
Three of these - Carnegie at Herne Hill, Minet at Brixton and Tate South Lambeth at the Oval - won't actually be neighbourhood libraries. They will become 'healthy living centres' (i.e paid-for gyms run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd). With some books.
Waterloo library - in what is described as a predominantly Moslem area - will be sold and moved into a nearby Christian centre.
And Upper Norwood joint library?
Well, your guess is as good as mine.
It won't be turned into a healthy living centre. But it could just become a glorified self-service library - and definitely with far fewer books.
The more I look at this, the more obvious it becomes that Lambeth council just haven't thought any of this through.
They say they won't be reducing the overall book stock - so where will the books they remove from Upper Norwood, Carnegie etc be going? Landfill?
There can't be that much space left in the five libraries Lambeth are now calling town centre libraries - Brixton, Streatham, West Norwood, Durning (Kennington) and Clapham. (Lambeth don't seem to think Upper Norwood is a town centre.)
At a Croydon council meeting last week (Monday 19th)  Croydon council's cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport  Cllr Timothy Godfrey's response to a question on the library included this comment:
"....As part of this a 'neighbourhood' library will be provided. "This will have limited library services and be unstaffed. "With funding provided by Croydon council the Upper Norwood library trust is currently testing income generation models in the library.
"This is to test the feasibility and sustainability of services should they take a lease from Croydon and Lambeth councils.
"As this change to the provision of the service by Lambeth is a significant one we are currently reviewing their proposals. "We are assessing implications for the library and the cost implications of any lease transfer, taking account of the condition of the building.
"We are working with the Trust and Lambeth to ensure that it has a sustainable future with minimum financial risk to the council. "Discussions with Lambeth and the Trust are on-going and a final decision on the building and service transfer will be made in the spring of 2016."
(One point already made to me is: if you have a self-service library, who puts the books back on the shelves?)
With Lambeth deciding not to sell the Minet library, no-one has said where the monies from any sale of Waterloo library will be going - if anywhere.
Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey, in a press statement, said Lambeth has decided not to sell the building 'at this stage'. The Brixton Buzz website says Kate Hoey plans to challenge the legality of Lambeth's plans for Waterloo. (Unconfirmed at time of posting, but I've no reason to doubt this.)
Originally the sale of the Waterloo and Minet would have helped fund, in some way, Upper Norwood, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth libraries. Not any more.
It's unclear where any funding for the library will be coming from April 2016.
I have a personal view that some people in the past cried 'wolf' once too often over Upper Norwood joint library finances.
This time, the wolves have turned up.
This time, it's for real.
Lambeth say they need to make £4 million cuts in cultural and sporting services.
Despite that they:
are giving £1 million to the Tate Britain art gallery on Bankside
are armarking - according to their latest estimates - £7 million on the Brixton centre which Nelson Mandela once visited UNTIL "a long-term plan has been secured for plant replacement and structural improvements by 2022." (This compares to £6 million in a press release dated July 18th this year.)
are going to spend £430,000 on upgrading a ball court in Norwood park on Elder Road
supported the Garden Bridge across the Thames until they realized it might cost them THIRTY MILLION POUNDS*
NB: The report to the council cabinet (3.11 on page 15) actually argues against itself on gym use. It states: "The most common reasons residents told us for not participating in regular physical activity are time, affordability, accessibility and having the right kit."
You couldn't make it up.
* 'Sadiq Khan: I'd scrap Garden Bridge plan if elected London Mayor' - Evening Standard
Thursday 24 September 2015 11:38 BST

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