ANOTHER DEMO VOICES ANGER AT LAMBETH’S LIBRARY CLOSURES

At a well-attended and angry demo this morning in front of Herne Hill station, residents, voters and library supporters from across London voiced their support for the Carnegie sit-in and furiously lambasted Lambeth Labour’s refusal to listen to residents as Cllr Jane Edbrooke and her colleagues persist in the closure of the Carnegie and other Lambeth libraries and the dodgy involvement of gym-supporting Greenwich Leisure.

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HELP SHAPE CARNEGIE’S FUTURE

The Friends of the Carnegie Library urge you to read and act on this appeal, before it’s too late!

The future of Carnegie Library is in our hands. Lambeth Libraries Commission’s report, delivered 21 November 2011, called for “co-production with the local community…at the earliest opportunity” leading to “Carnegie becoming a full community hub which results in significantly more users and visitors”. Lambeth has now designated Carnegie as one of the first in a proposed network of community hubs across the borough. These would “provide flexible, economical space” from which groups could “operate, co-produce and deliver services…a home where community growth, community action, volunteering and enterprise will be nurtured”.

The aim is for each hub to be “owned and managed by a community-led body with the governance arrangements being an existing or new community interest company, development trust or consortium”. The Council would provide a budget for library services; money from rents and activities would be recycled back into the hub. While there is scope for volunteers to facilitate outside bookings and events, there is no suggestion of volunteers replacing professional library staff.

We had hoped Friends groups would take a lead in devising a simple questionnaire along the lines of our 2000 survey. However, a 29 page Cooperative Libraries Consultation Information document has been issued, together with a 21 page questionnaire to be completed by Friday 20 April 2012.

Copies are available in the library and online. Though this may seem cumbersome and unwieldy, we urge everyone – members, users, nonusers, visitors and local traders – to read the document and complete the questionnaire. Let Lambeth know whether you agree with the overall concept and specific proposals and state which option you could support or suggest on how funds are allocated. The libraries budget will be much reduced for 2012/13 and further cut for 2013/14. We would seriously question the methodologies used to determine needs and allocation and would point out factors which have not been taken into account. We also have strong views on what we want – and do not want – to see in the library. Do consider your answers carefully. Consultation results will be assessed in a delivery report to Lambeth Council in May.

There are other opportunities to have your say. Apart from borough-wide public meetings, two specifically on the Carnegie’s future will be held in the library: Wednesday 28 March 10.00 – 12.00 and Monday 2 April 7.00 – 9.00pm. Please make every effort to attend one or both of these.

State your views on what you want for our library; and if you are able to take an active role in setting up and running the hub, come forward now.